Your thoughts create your reality, so don’t leave them up to chance! Actively, consciously choose thoughts that lead to the life you would like to live. Want to become happier? Think happy thoughts. Want to
Oh, I know, you have lots of brilliant excuses NOT to think positive. Let’s dispense with them now:
“I’m a realist. Don’t ask me to pretend everything is better than it is, because rose-colored glasses won’t solve problems or change reality.”
You’re right, of course; but only about 10% right. You’re 90% wrong, and here’s why:
- In the first place, your perception of reality is deeply flawed. So many ideas about the world float around inside your brain and distort everything you see. If you’re truly a realist, you must admit this established fact, and confess that perhaps you could swap some of your illusions for ones that make you happier and more productive.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ― Anaïs Nin
- Emotions deeply distort reality. If you feel fear, or sadness, or insecurity, those feelings make your world seem scary or sad or dangerous, but that doesn’t make it true. Sure, there are threats out there, but your mind exaggerates them, and if you could change your feelings, you’d perceive the world quite differently.
“Feelings are liars. Don’t believe them. Don’t obey them.” – Shaun Roundy
- Rose-colored glasses actually WILL solve problems and change reality – if you wear them correctly. You’re correct that magical thinking (wishing something would swoop into your world and rescue you just because you crossed your fingers) doesn’t change anything, but when optimism generates hope and motivation, the results can change everything!
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
“I already tried positive thinking, and it didn’t work.”
You probably did it wrong. Try again and this time follow these rules:
- Neutral thoughts aren’t positive. If you walked around repeating, “Well at least I’m not dead,” or “Well at least nobody poked my eye out today,” that doesn’t count. Positive thoughts are ones with the potential to make you happy and excited. Try instead things like, “If I keep trying, I will succeed, and that will feel fantastic!” or “I’m lucky to be me,” “I like myself, and so do other people,” and “I can succeed at anything I set my mind to.”
- Combine positive feelings with positive thoughts. The part of your brain that needs to get this message doesn’t natively use words to think. It uses emotions and images, so you should speak these languages for best results.
- Don’t give up. Changing powerful negative thoughts and feelings takes time and persistence, and the first part is hardest. Once you start building positive neural pathways, thinking positive thoughts gets easier and easier and eventually these thoughts run the negative ones out of town.
“FREEDOM is understanding that at the deepest level, YOU ARE A CHOICE to be, think, feel, say, and do whatever you want, and can begin anew in every moment.” – Shaun Roundy
“It’s too hard. I can’t do it!”
Yes, changing your thoughts can be hard work, but it’s easier than living with your limitations for the rest of your life!! You may as well get started, and here are a few helpful tips to make it easier:
- Get support. Share this article with your friends and commit to positive, productive thinking. It’s often easier to think more positively about other people than yourself, so giving each other support can make a huge difference.
- Your brain produces two types of thoughts, and dealing with each is very different.
– Conscious thoughts are easier to influence: simply pick some positive thoughts and run them through your mind until they stick.
– Subconscious thoughts are, by definition, invisible, and thus harder to understand and influence. Read Heal Your Mind for a detailed explanation of your brain’s systems and hundreds of instructions
- Become aware of your default thoughts, then choose productive ones. Default thoughts are whatever typically pops into your mind. Do you think people are always judging you? Are you always judging others? Does life always seem hard or scary or pointless or painful? Choose a set of more positive thoughts and think them over and over until they become automatic and replace the negative ones.
“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” -William Jennings Bryan
“Okay, you’re right. Got any more great ideas to help me think more productively?”
Of course! 🙂 We’ll continue publishing resources on the University of Life, and here are a few more good ideas to try out:
- Don’t be satisfied to keep believing everything you already believe. Always gather more evidence to support your ideas or develop better ones.
- Critical thinkers see problems as exciting challenges. Next time you run into something difficult, give that attitude a test drive! See what you can accomplish and how much satisfaction your accomplishments will bring!
- Choose productive attitudes that encourage and motivate you to work at life and love it! There’s no such thing as a “true” attitude. Attitudes are just the way you choose to feel about things. What will you choose?
Praise the Process, not the Product
- Most of our education system and entertainment options teach us to celebrate the end result rather than all the hard work it took to get there. Learn instead to enjoy the satisfaction of working toward a goal and not only will you live a happier life, but you’ll become more productive and more likely to succeed more often!