There was a time in my life when I felt that everything happening were against me and the odds were not in my favour. I was asking myself what have I been doing wrong or if I have done something bad to other people and maybe this is just the universe getting back at me. And then I realised I was being pessimistic. I was so focused on looking at the negative things that I was attracting more of it therefore resulting in more unfavourable things happening to me.
“If you knew how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” -Peace Pilgrim
And so one day, I decided to make a change. There was a light bulb. I searched online, I read books, I watched Youtube videos, I followed great people on Instagram and then promised myself I would try to be better and see the good in every little thing. I’ve listed below the things that I did and I currently live by to be positive or stay positive and attract the good in my life.
1. Set goals. It doesn’t matter how big or small, the most important thing is to start. Do you want to be in shape? Do you want to start your own company? Do you want to join a club? Do you want to start a website? Or maybe you just want to make time to see your friends. Whatever it is, you have to pursue that goal and the only way to do that is to set a target date and just do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Sometimes we love to stay in our comfort zone so much that we are not willing to try new things. Whenever you think about not doing anything to change your current situation, remember the quote from the famous Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
2. Surround yourself with positive people and avoid negative influences. You might have heard this a thousand times before. My grade school teacher would always mention the saying “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”. It’s true, because you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with so you subconsciously imitate them, what they do and what they say without you knowing it. When I say avoid negative influences, I mean avoid the gossipers. No matter what they say and no matter how juicy the gossip is, don’t fall for it. “Whoever gossips to you, will gossip about you.” Avoid them at all costs. I once had a co-worker who would just send me a chat and tell me a gossip about another co-worker. What I do is I just say OK and then change the subject. When you do that, it stops there. No time wasted, no friend betrayed.
3. Reframe and accept negative experiences. It’s inevitable. It can and it will happen to anyone. Life is one big obstacle course and you won’t finish it unscathed. Everyday we are faced with challenges and when you fail at one doesn’t mean you will not try again. A baby who’s learning to walk and failed a hundred times doesn’t say “This is not for me”. Even in an interview when you’re asked, “What is your greatest weakness?” The best way to answer this is to state something you’re not good at and then turn it into a positive by telling them the steps on how you’re working hard on getting better, and mention that you’re still working at becoming even better at whatever this skill is. I’d like to think a negative experience is one way of reminding us to be grateful for the things that went right.
4. Be grateful. Most of the time we take things for granted. When we leave in the morning and arrive in the office safely, when the office help cleans our desks, when we can listen to a new song from our favourite artist, when our families are all well, our health, our jobs, the money in the bank, the computer, the internet, your mobile phone, and when you go home, the bed that you sleep in, the safety and security, the moon and the stars, the electricity, the air conditioning and so on and so forth. It’s so easy to focus on the things we don’t have rather than appreciating the things that we do have. I am grateful that the things that I were just praying for before, most of them I already have now.
5. Do the things you love. What do you love doing the most? Is it travelling? Watching movies? Long drives? Swimming at the beach? Listening to music? Whatever it is, do more of it. Because when you do things that you love and pair it with the things that you normally do, you will be more productive, you will be motivated and you will push yourself to succeed even more. For me, I like listening to music every minute, every second of the day. I was told that when I was in my mom’s womb, she would let me listen to classical music and maybe that’s the reason why I am fond of listening to music now. At the office, I have my earphones on all the time because it helps me focus and I become more efficient.
6. Be Kind. Easier said than done but here’s a true story. On the day I decided to be more positive, I went to the mall to buy something. At the parking area, all the spaces were taken and just when I was about to leave, a lady walked towards me and signalled that she is leaving and that I could take her spot. I thought to myself, “wow, she is very kind”. And after that as I was on my way out, a taxi driver signalled I could go ahead in front of him on a busy street and I was like, “what’s happening today?” And then when I went to the office and parked outside, the guard told me that I should park inside because it’s hot out and he would let me in even if I didn’t have a card. There were more instances where I felt like I’m in another planet where every one is kind to one another. Bottomline, be kind. Be kind not because it’s good for you or you’re reciprocating what others have done for you but be kind for no reason at all. And in the words of Princess Diana, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
To conclude, being positive is just basically choosing to look at the brighter side of life. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect because it never is but it’s looking forward to the rainbow after the rain. Negative experiences and problems are a way of life but it’s up to you how you overcome them. They are there to challenge you and to make you a better person than you ever was before. Positivity is seeing the good in everyone even if we can barely see it. And lastly, positivity begins with a smile even a forced one and a hope that whatever you’re going through right now will change for the better.