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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Positive Thinking and How to Keep Doing It When Things Aren't Going to Plan

 By Richie Lloyd


Welcome to the second article in the series about Positive Thinking. The first article gave you a simple skill to practice to improve your Positive Thinking. This article is about how to continue your Positive Thinking when all around you is not quite going to plan.

When everything is going well, anyone can think positively but when things start to go awry, at the very time when you need to be thinking positively your thinking can take a definite turn for the worse.

Remember how the first article gave you the exercise of balancing every single negative thought with a minimum of three positive thoughts? Well how do you manage to keep your Positive Thinking going when your goals and dreams appear to be dashed? How do you refocus on the positives even when they appear harder to find?

There is a technique within Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) called reframing. In base terms this can be viewed within the well known phrase, "What does not kill me makes me stronger". No matter how bad things have become for you, you are still alive and with patience, determination and motivation you can start again. Accept what has gone on, what has happened to you. Learn from the mistakes and start again.

It is not the event that causes the negative thought. You know from article one that you control your thoughts. When you were young and got the present that you always wanted for your birthday or Christmas you would have been filled with elation.

Let's say you got a bicycle for your birthday. You walk into the room and there is a bicycle shaped present all wrapped up in the corner and you start to smile and get excited because you have so wanted a bicycle for so long. You feel happy because you have got what you always wanted and so you have positive thoughts.

There is no direct transference of positive thinking from the bicycle to you. The bicycle is not capable of filling your mind with positive thoughts and smiles and giggles; it is your choice to react that way.

Now imagine walking into the room and seeing a bicycle shaped present all wrapped up in the corner. How do you feel seeing that present, knowing it is your "big" present, when what you actually wanted was a pony?

The lack of a pony does not make you feel sad, angry or frustrated. The bicycle shaped present does not transmit negative thoughts into your brain. You choose to think and feel that way. And once you understand that basic principle you should be able to choose how you think and feel in any other given situation.

Any event, in isolation, does not have any meaning at all until YOU attach an emotion to it. You have the choice to accept that something that you had planned for has not been achieved and you have the choice to think either positively or negatively about that situation.

Tony Robbins gives an excellent example of an immediate reframe. Picture yourself lying asleep in bed in the middle of the night. You wake because you hear your bedroom door opening. The emotions that this event elicits will be very different if you are expecting your partner back from a night out, than if you live on your own and are not expecting anyone to open the door at all!

In modern parlance you will know that politicians are masters of reframing. It does not matter what happens, they have the ability to "spin" the event into a positive event for their party and a negative event for their opponents and that is the basis of lesson two.

What you need to do is practice putting a positive spin on to any event that occurs in your life. For example, a couple of weeks ago my laptop was hacked. It would not allow me to access any programme, online or offline. Yes, it was annoying. Yes, it meant that I could not complete some work that I planned to do. Yes, it was going to cost me money to fix it.

I had the choice to be royally upset and focus on the negatives and I admit that was tempting. However, for every negative thought I have, turning my bucket back to rusty is not an option. How did I put a positive spin on it? Simple, I chose to finish my work day early. It allowed me to spend more time with my partner. I already knew that I needed better online security but had been procrastinating.

I had to do it now that's for sure. I could always catch up on my work later. At this point I have no sensitive material on my laptop but am at the point of adding capture pages to some of my work. Thank goodness that my security was compromised prior to obtaining other people's details! It was much better to add the security now, before I had those details and therefore protect my information in future.

Try a simple exercise now. Picture any event that has happened in your past and caused you to have negative thoughts and put you in a bad mood. Go back to the event and look at how you felt and instead of concentrating on the negative, think of five positives from that event instead.

Have you ever been made redundant or lost your job? The natural thought process would be to worry about your situation. How will you get another job? You have no recent interview practice and it is ages since you wrote a CV. Your cash flow is going to be detrimentally affected for sure and it would be tempting to concentrate on the negatives.

Or, you can put a positive spin on it. You can spend some time with your partner and children and family and friends. You finally have a chance to catch up with all of the chores that you have been neglecting. What about that training course you have always considered, or that hobby that you have always wanted to try. You have a chance to give due consideration to your whole life. You can take stock and perhaps choose a totally different career path. Maybe you can even start working from home for yourself?

Which of those mind sets will produce the better results? The answer should be obvious. Reframing is just a skill that needs mastering. Practice it and refine it and you will get better at it. Don't practice and you will simply ride the peaks and troughs like a yacht in a storm - pretty much like everyone else. Those highs and lows really are your choice to make.

Strangely enough, the most successful proponent of "reframing" was also the most successful person I ever knew. You could tell him that his house had burnt down and he would have an instant reframe. He would probably just say that he had been planning to look for something bigger!

Here is a real life gem from him. On the way to the office one morning in dreadful weather, his car broke down. He called the tow truck and set off walking in the pouring rain, arriving at the office totally soaked to the skin.

The receptionist said, "Dave, what an awful day, you are soaked wet through, how awful?"

Without missing a step he replied, "No Collette, today is a fantastic day. I have had time to clear my thoughts while walking to the office and it has occurred to me how perfect the human body is. Imagine if our noses were the other way round, I could have drowned!" And with his normal beaming smile he set to work

How many other people sitting there, wet through, thinking about a broken down car and the costs involved would have considered that a pretty poor start to the day and allowed a bad attitude to affect the rest of the day?

Extreme example for sure. Extreme reframing for sure. Extremely successful man for sure.

Start practicing this habit now. Anytime something goes wrong, or doesn't quite go to plan, turn the negative into a positive and keep shining your bucket. If you can get the skill perfected now, then when something really bad happens you won't immediately fall back into the bad habit of negative thinking just when you most need to remain a great exponent of positive thinking.

Richie Lloyd
Experienced corporate business and marketing manager, Certified Practitioner of NLP, hypnotherapy and timeline therapy, Mentor, teacher and student in the field of internet marketing.
I invite you to visit my blog and pick up some free gifts to help you develop your business and yourself

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  1. When things don't go our way or as planned it could be the best thing that happens to us. Yes just imagine how much we learn when we are asked to change our game plan and hang in there. Susscess is always preceded by many beautiful failures.

    Ed Fox

  2. To think positive is great whatever happen was always okay and it makes my anger minimize.. Its cool ... and your post is very nice!! keep up the good work..

    Procrastination Free Living