Positive Approach To Life

Stress. It is all around us. We live in a world that is getting faster and faster. We are being constantly asked to step up, make decisions, get better, get more connected, and we are under constant stress imposed on us either by the society or by ourselves. How to cope with such environment? How to stay on top of things and enjoy what we are doing even when things don’t go as planned? How to keep our sanity, energy and passion when faced with obstacles, losses and setbacks? How to maintain positive approach to life?

Learn to laugh

Don’t be afraid to laugh. Too often people feel that in a professional setting they need to be dead serious to be taken seriously by others. If the leader stays serious all the time, chances are that also the team will be afraid to laugh. But what sort of environment do you build where people are discouraged from laughing? A good heartfelt laugh is a great way to remove tension, to dissolve stressful situations, to give some life and enthusiasm to the otherwise serious business. A good laugh is spreading like a virus and helps to build environment where people can have fun even when asked to focus hard on performing their tasks.

See only the best in others

We all have to interact with each other all the time. Most of the jobs in today’s economy rely on communicating and collaborating with others. If you want to keep your sanity you need to have a healthy approach to how you see the people around you. If you are paranoid and you feel like everyone is at your throat and trying to do you harm your will be in constant stress. If you give negative meaning to every single action of your teammates and bosses it will show on the way you interact with them and most likely they will also start wondering what’s wrong with you.

You reap what you saw. If you keep the mentality that others work to the best of their abilities, and that they always try to do what they consider is the best for everyone it will help you to build a more positive approach to communicating with them. And as a side effect it will improve your mental health as you will be able to stop watching your back wherever you move. Just check out this piece about the basic principles of good coaching and you can learn more about the state of mind important for coaching that applies also here.

Enjoy the small wins

Things may not always go as planned. You may work on a long-term project or tasks that won’t see the light of the day for months or years. How you stay motivated and on track? By breaking it down to smaller pieces and celebrating small wins. Every single day there is something that went well and that can give you the energy to continue in your endeavor. Did you just helped to old woman cross a street during your trip to work? Did you just have a great conversation with a customer? Did you get a pat on the back from your boss? Did you receive kudos email from your team member? Did you just code a great algorithm? All these are small wins, small successes that are happening all the time and we tend to overlook them and focus on the bigger things that go wrong.

All it takes is to shift your mindset and focus on the small things that you can impact every single day. You won’t be able to salvage a huge disastrous project in one day, but you can do bunch of small things that will count as wins and keep you positive even when it is raining all around you.

Every cloud has a silver lining

I love sayings and idioms. Every cloud has a silver lining is my favorite. It embodies the basic of my life philosophy. There are always things that are out of your control, but it is only up to you how you will be impacted by them. Or more precisely how you will interpret the impact and feel about it. There are very few situations in life (usually connected with death) that are difficult to flip into positive. In majority of situations that you face every day there is a more positive way how to look at them. Did you just miss a train? Great, more time to read. Did you just crash your car? Great, no one got hurt and you have a reason to buy a new one. Did you just totally mess up a presentation to your boss? Great, he provided you an invaluable feedback and it will help you to grow and be better next time.

Twitter type summary: “To deal with stress, make sure you laugh often, trust others, enjoy small wins and find positives in every situation.”

What is your recipe to stay positive and motivate? How do you get through times when things don’t go as planned?

Looking at the world through the eyes of 5-years old

Have you ever wondered why some people walk through their lives always with a smile on their face and happy while others are constantly worrying and see only the problems and what can go wrong? Are you one of those who could use a little bit more optimism in your life?

Lots of that is given by genetics, our childhood, upbringing, life experiences and generally things in the past that cannot really be undone. I was a very serious child, always worried too much about everything and when I was growing up I always saw the glass as half empty, always had a plan B in case something goes wrong, and always had a rather pessimistic view of the world. And then something happened and I realized that I can change it all and I want to change it. Today, I’m the most optimistic person you could meet and I love it. So let me share with you some of the things that changed my mindset. I’m not saying they will work for you, but they can get you started. As I see it, these are the traits we are born with. These are the traits that every child has but somehow we forget them as we grow.

  • Be open – open to new ideas, open to new experiences, open with your thoughts, open with people around you.
  • Be curious – about things around you, about people you meet, about the world, and about yourself. Learn new things as much as you can and always try to experience something new.
  • Trust others – learn from past mistakes but don’t automatically assume bad intentions or ulterior motives. There is no reason to close down and hide everything from everyone and be on constant guard. It just focuses your mind on negatives. And remember your mind will provide you with more of the things you focus on.
  • Enjoy pushing your comfort zone and try new things – learn to constantly push the boundaries of what you can do and experience. It will prepare you for changes and surprises. Life is full of changes, challenges, and surprises so why not train to be able to deal with them with enthusiasm.
  • Enjoy what you haveDale Carnegie said “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” Learn to embrace life you’ve got. Learn to be happy with things you have and don’t be envious or jealous, it will just make your life miserable.
  • Don’t live in the past – why to keep your mind occupied by something that has happened in the past and cannot be changed? Reliving the past will just make you miserable and will steal precious minutes from living now.
  • Don’t live in the future – it is great to have a dream. So yes, dream, but then go and take the first step to make your dream a reality. If you just keep dreaming without working on getting to your dream you will never get there and ultimately will be disappointed and unhappy with your life.
  • Don’t blame others – you and only you are responsible for your life. There is no point in blaming your parents, teacher, spouse, boss, or fate. We are all responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and destiny.
  • Don’t watch TV – what’s the point? You would just waste an hour of your life watching stories about how other people (often imaginary) live. Just go and live yourself.

And as we are no children anymore let me add two more points for us adults

  • Manage your expectations – set your expectations in such a way that you won’t be disappointed whatever happens. In fact, you may want not to set expectations at all and just enjoy things as they come. The worst thing you can do is overthinking everything. My grandmother who lived through WWII in Europe would even at the end of 20th century still say things like “You shouldn’t waste that food what if there is a war.”
  • See things in perspective – if you are reading this it means you have access to a computer, internet, you have a nice home or an office. Do you know how many people in the world don’t have electricity or even drinkable water? Travelling to some poor countries (for example in Africa) can really open your eyes and change your worldview pretty dramatically.

When I look at myself today I can see someone who is becoming increasingly cynical as I grow older. I do understand that not everything in life can be the way I want and there are many things I cannot really influence. If I would continue in that train of thought I would become really miserable and unhappy person. Isn’t it better to remember back when you were the 5-years old naive kid with short attention span who just enjoyed every day, always tried new things and was able to quickly recover from any mistakes by simply not overthinking them?

Twitter type summary: “To form a more positive view of the world don’t over-analyze everything and try to be a bit more open, curious, trusting and naive.”

What is your recipe for living every day with positive and optimistic mindset? What are the things that helps you achieve that?