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7 Simple Ways to Grow A Positive Attitude

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If you could buy a single product that guarantees you happiness at the push of a button, would you jump to take it? What if I tell you that you already have the seed of that something, and it is yours for free and all you have to do is to plant it and allow it to grow?

That something that can make you feel better, happier, and excited about life is your own mind through positive thinking and attitude.

Keeping a positive attitude is not dependent on the events in your life because life happens even when you stay still. Therefore, a positive attitude comes from inside you regardless of what is happening outside.

Here are 7 ways to grow your positive attitude:

1. Clean up your internal dialogue

A positive attitude starts with the things and the words that you are telling yourself. Glorifying what you are doing right is not arrogance, it’s positive reinforcement. Offering yourself understanding of what you are doing wrong is not self-indulgence, it’s self-compassion.

Clean up your internal dialogue, use encouraging, confident and compassionate words, a calm voice tone and daily affirmations. All of these are medicine to your soul and self-esteem. Plus, a pleasant self-talk improves your interpersonal skills and the way you relate to others.  

2. Write a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal gives you the opportunity to notice, acknowledge and be appreciative for the positive people and things in your life. It is an exercise that makes you hit the break, pause, and pay attention to the multitude of great things you have in your life. Things that, otherwise can pass unremarked and undiscovered.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” — Dalai Lama

3. Reframe your problems

First, change the words you are using about a problem. For example, a “problem” is an issue or a challenge. Second, formulate the issue as a question and not a statement. A question gives you multiple possibilities of answering, various ways to go forward, a new beginning. On the other hand, a statement feels definitive, it feels like a dead end.

4. Attract positive people in your life

The easiest way to attract positive people into your life is to be one! Do you know the saying “misery likes company”? Happiness loves company too. Surrounding yourself with positive people is a two-way street. The better people feel in your presence, the better you feel as well. The more positive messages you send, the many positive messages you receive from others.

5. Search for the upside of things

Apparently, the tendency to notice more the negative or the positive side of things is due, in part, to genetics. However, no matter your genes, you can turn things around. Searching deliberately and purposefully for the upside of people and things is a process that is rewiring your brain towards your desired outcome: a positive attitude.

There is almost nothing and no one in this world that doesn’t have the same values and worth to offer you. It is just a matter of practice and patience to discover that part.  

6. Communicate and be assertive about your needs and desires

Being assertive and voicing your needs and desires is part of a positive attitude. When you are assertive about what you want or don’t want, it can calm your feelings of anxiety and fear of rejection. Even if you don’t get each time what you want, know that you had the courage to ask, done the best you could.

Learn how to communicate effectively to others so that everybody wins something at the end. Silence, anger, frustration, screaming, for example, are ways of communication. Is it not? However, they are not effective, nor productive in any shape or form. Assertiveness and communication go hand in hand, influencing each other and giving power one to another. Plus, both are an essential part of building a happy, content life not only for you but for those around at the same time.

There is not harmonious family life without assertiveness; there is no collaboration without skilled communication.  “Lack of communication” is nonsense. We are communicating something at every interaction we have. The only questions are what are you communicating? Is it your communication random, left to chance or is it polished and intentional?

“The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being.” — Lee lacocca

7. Avoid taking part in unnecessary disputes

Temperate your sense of entitlement and vanity. At every interaction you have, remind yourself, every step of the way, what are your intentions, goals and where do you want to get at the end. People like others that makes them feel good about themselves and that is an excellent aim of your positive attitude in life. Give good and good you will receive.

What are some techniques you use to maintain a positive mindset?
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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Hillary Omil

    Nov 24, 2016 at 5:18 am

    I create positivity by exercising whenever I am feeling down

  2. Alex Liang

    Oct 15, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Great points here. Another great way of developing a positive attitude is through meditation. It reduces anxiety and allows people greater control over their emotions.

  3. Sara Wood

    Oct 7, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Great advice, enjoyable reading.
    My desire in life, is to help as many people as I possibly can. To help bring the best out of each person I come across. To make them feel positive, happy, and most of all, comfortable in their own skin.
    This is what I was put on this earth, and this is my purpose in life.
    Thank you xx

  4. Joshua

    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Nice post, really educative.

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Life

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

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In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

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5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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