I’ve previously written about the power of positive thinking, here, and here. The simple idea behind it all is that a tendency toward upbeat thinking is more beneficial than wallowing in its downbeat opposite.
More recently, however, I’ve begun to itemize some positive thoughts and attitudes that I believe can greatly nurture your productivity and success.
Here are a few of the best ones:
Recognize Your Strengths
Part of the reason you’re as productive and successful as you are is your ability to accurately see what’s going on around you. If you don’t already, you should begin to direct this ability toward recognizing your own strengths, as well as others’.
One approach is to assess your own performance in much the same way as you would anyone else’s. For example, go over your track record and identify the obvious strengths you have evidenced by meeting past goals and accomplishing past successes.
Another approach is to confer with people in your circle whose judgment you trust. Ask for – and accept – their assessments of what you do well and what you contribute to the success of teams and projects in which you participate.
You may have been reluctant until now to assess your own strengths, because there’s a powerful cultural taboo about blowing one’s own horn. But get over that: it’s perfectly acceptable – and helpful – to simply know what they are, which makes it easier to count on contributing your strengths in present and future endeavors.
Welcome and Learn from Your Errors
I’ve recently written about some positive aspects of errors, which include accepting your own fallibility and using your errors as learning opportunities to improve future performance.
I won’t repeat any of that advice here. But I will encourage you to cultivate a more positive attitude toward errors and to recast them in a more positive light.
Henry Ford famously advised: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” There’s a lot of truth in this simple idea, because science shows that expectations have a major impact on outcomes.
For this reason, you owe it to yourself to cultivate and grant yourself high expectations for:
- Earning respect and receiving good treatment from others,
- Understanding difficult situations,
- Recognizing the best way forward,
- Making good decisions on the basis of available information,
- Delivering optimum performances toward goals, and
- Generating successful outcomes.
When you have high expectations regarding your own abilities, you will usually find others willing to take that cue and give their support.
Cheer Yourself On
There’s a reason for cheerleaders. They help to focus people on positive elements in situations, which encourages them to lend emotional support, experience good feelings, and express extra energy toward whatever is the desired outcome.
Since you probably can’t afford to hire a cheerleading squad to follow you around, you should learn to cheer for yourself. This usually involves:
- Focusing primarily on whatever positive elements you can find in your current situation and your approach to it.
- Seeking out and expressing positive feelings about your skills, abilities, and talents.
- Drowning out with positivity any negative thoughts or feelings that may come up.
Of course, this kind of cheerleading for yourself should not go so far that it blinds you to important problems or potential pitfalls you may face. But looking at the glass as half full rather than half empty is always a better strategy.
Welcome the Future
The future is always uncertain, but that’s no reason to fear it. Based on your track record, your support crew, your skills, abilities, and talents, you probably have lots of reasons to expect your future to be relatively bright. So welcome it.
- Keep your eyes scanning the horizon for future events and opportunities.
- Anticipate future feelings of happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction.
- Plan for future experiences, celebrations, and rewards.
- Stay open to whatever will come next, with confidence you can handle it and its outcome.
Every day brings new opportunities to enjoy the people, places, and things that surround you. Embrace these prospects as often as you can, and you will get far more from every moment.
These and other positive thoughts and attitudes will tend to boost your confidence, bolster your performance, and lubricate your mental processes – all of which will tend to make you more productive and successful in your work and your life.
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