There is considerable discussion these days about whether or not the way you think has an impact on what happens in your life.
It’s fair to say that this discussion has been going on for quite some time.
Even the Bible talks about our mental outlook. In Proverbs 23:7 we find “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.”
Yet many people today seem to think that positive thinking is a waste of time.
“All that rah-rah stuff might work for others, but I prefer the facts,” say some. “I look at life logically. I don’t want to waste my time with my head in the clouds, getting nothing accomplished.”
It’s a perspective I’ve heard more than a few times. And that’s okay – we are all entitled to our opinions.
The freedom to have an opinion, and express that opinion is one of the foundational principles of my country. I love that.
I agree that it wouldn’t be good to live your life in a fantasy world, never looking at reality or never getting anything done.
But I also believe that positive thinking is not only NOT a waste of time, but that it’s essential to a successful life.
I believe it’s incredibly important to think positively if you want a successful online business.
More than almost any other job you could have, doing business online all centers around you.
When you’re working for yourself, often from home and late at night, there’s no boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re getting things done.
There are no workplace buddies walking by your office each day to keep you on your toes in friendly (or sometimes, less than friendly) competition.
There’s no assistant to take down notes and send an email for you, no interns to get your coffee.
When you work online, it all depends on you.
Because of this …
It takes a very self-motivated person to make working online a success.
Self-motivated people tend to be successful in many careers, not just online.
But when you work online, being self motivated becomes even more important.
So how do you stay “up”, even in the face of disappointment, tiredness and the inevitable isolation most of us feel when working online.
I believe there are three keys to keeping your chin up even when things are looking down.
Focus on hope
John Maxwell said it well. “If there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.”
So, if you want more personal power today, focus more on hope!
What is hope? According to Webster’s it is …
The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Here’s the strange thing; many people I speak with don’t know what they are hoping for!
When I speak with people I often ask what they are hoping for out of a certain situation. While most can give a partial answer (I want more!) few can give a specific or measurable answer.
I’ve been in this boat myself. Wanting more, but not having a clearly defined picture of what “more” is can be a trap we set for ourselves.
There is a hidden danger here.
Wanting more without defining what that means can lead to being disatissfied with whatever we do receive.
This is why I believe it is vital to have a written goals program.
Have a written goals program
I will readily admit that I am a fan of having a written goals program. In 30 years of being self-employed I’ve both gone without written goals (for years!) and had a written goals program.
I can tell you; having written goals is better.
There are three reasons I believe we should all have a written goals program.
- Written goals keep you on track. You can refer to your goal sheets every day for inspiration, direction and a sense of accomplishment.
- Written goals help you get back on track. We all “fall off the wagon”. Having your goals in writing helps you make adjustments quickly.
- Things in writing have power. There is something about the written word that has inherent power. In life we make contracts, buy houses, get married, start businesses, graduate from college and more. We keep a written record when these milestones occur. Writing things down makes them more real to us.
I know you have goals. We all have goals. But unless you have a written goals program you are missing (in my opinion) the real power of goals.
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Gratitude is one of the building blocks of a happy life. Very few people who practice gratitude are unhappy.
Do they have unhappy moments? Sure. But, on balance, people I know who are truly grateful are happy people.
I believe gratitude is a habit, a response we can learn to cultivate in ourselves.
How do you develop a habit of gratitude? Here are three ways to get started today.
- Make a list. Once again, the written word. Make an actual list today of the things for which you are grateful. It might be your spouse, your children, your experiences, the fact that you can read this … the list goes on and on.
- Review your list every day. Every day? Yep. You don’t have to read the entire list. Just choose five things every day and rotate through the list.
- Set an alarm on your smart phone. If you use a smart phone, set an alarm right now for a time that suits you (mine is 11am) and call that alarm “gratitude”. When the alarm goes off, pull out your gratitude list and read a few. If you don’t use a smart phone buy a small pocket alarm.
Practice gratitude every day for 30 days and let me know how it goes. I believe you will find it life-changing, as I have.
Is positive thinking a waste of time? Not in my view.
Here’s a quote from one of my favorite teachers, Zig Ziglar…
“Positive thinking won’t let you do ANY thing but it will help you do EVERY thing better than negative thinking will.”
If you focus on hope, write down your goals and practice gratitude daily, I believe you will go farther faster than you ever dreamed possible, whether your goal is to cure cancer or make a million dollars.
Your days will be filled with joy, even in the midst of illness or struggle, and you will become grateful for all that life provides.
And when you live with gratitude you will be living a beautiful life indeed!