Last year a very good buddy of mine asked me how I had managed to build and maintain such a positive attitude, a few key things stuck out from the advice I gave him and I felt these are really worth hearing for anyone stuck in a rut.
I told my friend that I am the way I am because I believe you find more of whatever you focus most on. It is simple as that. My friend was focusing hard and daily on the bad things about his current role, frustrations of lack of advancement, anger towards other in work and outside work, and not getting the support he felt he deserved. This had been going on for years in every role he was in, trust me I know as I had listened to these same gripes over and over.
I had offered friendly advice before and the advice I gave this day was very much the same as I had given every time before but this time I removed the sugar coating. I felt enough was enough for my friend, he needed my brutal honesty. So without beating about the bush I told him straight up that the story he was telling himself over and over was the one of a very hard done by victim, which in reality wasn’t really the case. Things weren’t as bad as he was making out, he was just choosing to focus on his frustrations and ONLY his frustrations. He was feeling like a defenceless victim and acting accordingly. Constantly feeling sorry for himself and never actually trying to improve his outlook. This underlying anger was never going to lead to better things.
Again I explained that his subconscious mind and conscious mind can only focus on one thing at a time. By constantly focusing on bad stuff and negativity he was telling his subconscious mind that negativity is the most important thing to him. He was instructing his subconscious to search out more of the same so it dually obliged, and kept finding the worst points of each situation over and over … as that is what he had set as his priority! He had to change his daily habits to change the setting. I told him that if he started focusing on the good consistently for a good period of time so that his subconscious mind would start seeking out more good things for him to notice.
There’s just too much going on in the world every single second of the day so your subconscious can’t possibly show you every single things that’s good, bad and indifferent… instead it finds what YOU have set as the highest priority. At that moment my friend was spending every day giving full power to NEGATIVITY, THINGS TO MOAN ABOUT, BAD STUFF, FRUSTRATIONS and NASTY PEOPLE … what else did he expect to find more of in the world??
Instead in life you need to focus on all the daily good in your life, what went well in your day? What did you enjoy? What fun did you have? What progress did you make? If you can’t find anything then you’re not looking hard enough or your spending your spare time on the wrong things. You need to plan your enjoyment better. There is plenty to find if you just start looking for it.
You need to grow a grateful mindset, you need to make the effort to find things daily to be thankful for. You simply take 5 minutes daily to put focus on how lucky you are, to think about what you have and where you are in life instead of dwelling on all the stuff that you don’t have and what other people have that you don’t. You need to convince yourself things ARE good (self-talk / thinking – tell yourself everything will work out over and over) because they really are, you’ll find so many things to be thankful for if you just make the effort.
Once you start focusing on what you have and how lucky you are you then need to start thinking about what you want from life and grow a belief that whatever it is your want it WILL happen for you. This completely changes how you act (being seen as more positive / confident makes you more hire-able / likeable), it changes how you see situations (more open / flexible and seeing them as opportunities rather than challenges) which in turn makes you more appealing to everyone around you. By focusing on what might go right for you instead of worrying about what can go wrong your whole approach to life will change for the better.
Seeing yourself as a victim is easily done and changing this is going to take some effort but it’s something you must do if you want to live a happy life. Convince your subconscious that you are a winner NOT a victim.
The tough truth I delivered was that my good friend was still seeing himself as a victim. He was always happy to be angry that others get opportunities that “poor him” will never get. That belief, that anger towards others would never have lead him to get what he deserves or what he wants. That had to stop and he knew it himself so agreed to work with me to turn this attitude and perspective around.
My friend thought that things were so bad he would only feel better by leaving his current job, though it was an option I told him that wan’t the fix he needs. If he left this company angry and as a victim he’d soon find reasons to feel the same in any new company … as that was what he had programmed into his subconscious.
Before he rushed off to a new job I told him he needed to work on his focus first, get that right and better times would follow either in his current role or elsewhere. He enjoyed his job but his frustrations over advancement and lack of support was all he focused on, all he gave power to, so he overlooked every single good part about his job. He was too busy prioritising the bad. Once he changed that, and it took daily effort, he quickly replaced it with a positive view of gratitude (for the good things about his job, his life, himself and the good people around him). He built happier habits and a new positive outlook … then all of a sudden life picked up, his attitude to his current company changed and even the bad people started to matter less and less.
To help him make this change I asked him to start counting the good in his life. I asked him to list everything is his life he was grateful for – from small daily things like finding a space in car park or having a good chat with a friend to the big wins like having a nice house or finding a great partner. I also asked him to take the time to recognise his achievements by writing them down so he could realise just how far he had come. I asked him to take time to remember his strengths by writing them down and realising the list was much longer than he would’ve first thought. Part of his new daily routine was to take 5 minutes each night to recount the good events of each day from finishing a big report to having a great lunch. Taking the time to actively focus of all of these good things starts to improve what you focus on. He started to seek out the good in his life and gave less power to the frustrations.
Work was an issue to him so to help him see his working environment better I asked him to think about the good things the company had done for him and find some of the good people in it and how they had helped. I told him to note that all down and add to the list any time he thought of something good. He needed a severe switch in perception of his working environment and that was easily done by getting him to talk about the good stuff, the better parts of his job, the nice supportive people, the perks he was already receiving, the progress he’d already made and the many opportunities that he had already been lucky enough to receive.
I set up a Google Document for him to make notes of all this good stuff and my friend was true to his word and put in the small daily effort required. Day by day he added new things to the document. Over the space of a month through his daily inputs (10 minutes a day) he had created a go-to document for any time his motivation or mood slipped. Once this document was set up he could still add to it daily or just spend the time reading through all his records of previous good in his life.
My friend kept this up for well over a month and you would need to do the same. These good habits will change your outlook and confidence but that is just the beginning, this has to be kept up for minimum of a month, every day, whilst also NOT getting involved in nasty gossiping or complaining. To make the effort to switch any negative conversations to the good points about the situation or the person involved, instead of the bad.
Just to give you some more examples of this with other people, one friend I had for years kept going on about how unlucky he was and how bad things kept happening to him. These things would happen ALL the time and he was as angry about that as you could get … so obviously he kept finding more and more things to be angry about. I explained the issue was the focus and that by assuming the worst was coming that is what he found, he played with my logic and gave it a try with almost instant results. This finally stopped his negative assumptions and helped him chill into a much happier life.
Another guy I know used to complain to me every day about how unlucky he was and unsurprisingly he kept finding more things to see himself as unlucky over. Buses being late, awkward people in work, dropping stuff, making mistakes etc. One day I challenged him on it, to try thinking that things would work out better on a certain situation, and it actually helped him break the cycle! He got a couple of good breaks that day alone … because he was looking for good breaks, instead of desperately trying to find the bad ones.
You are what you focus on, you get what you truthfully expect to get so start to truly believe that good things are coming and you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
Taking time to count the good things about your life, your job, your partner, and your family will help you start to find the much needed positives in this world. You will start feeling amazing in a month instead of angry, miserable and frustrated. You just need to change what you talk about, what you give power to.
I am by no means perfect myself. I’ve only learned this myself by falling into the same traps over and over again … and sometimes I still do. But what I can promise you all is that any time I go back to these positives habits it brings better feelings and honestly, some amazing wonderful things. My downfall on occasions is that once I’m back to feeling normal and things are going great again I stupidly stop the positive habits, bad ones creep back in (because this is the world we live in) and I get caught back up in complaining, which leads to bad things. This is happening rarer and rarer as my mindset strengthens and I stick to my good habits and the same can happen for you.
I’ve learned the hard way and I know it’s hard for people to change but if you really do want to feel better and make things better for yourself you need to change what you feed your mind and what you focus on. These things I’m telling you to do today CAN and WILL help. If you just push yourself enough to try them and keep at them.
And as for my friend, well he actually encouraged me to share this advice and update the story with his latest progressions – 3 months after starting my positive mindset training he had a job offer in the country he was so keen to get home to, at the level / grade and salary he knew he deserved, with the perks he always wanted and in an industry he enjoys … oh, and he is now engaged to be married to love of his life. I’m not saying all this is down to my advice but it would certainly have helped speed up the results and finally remove the negative roadblocks that had been holding him back (full testimonial available from my friend should you need it to convince you).
Thanks for reading. If you have any feedback or comments I’d love to hear them.