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How to create and action positive thinking skills

Make the most of your positive thoughts

"Come on, you can do it"

Amy Whitehouse in concert, an artist that struggled with positive thinking

Amy Whitehouse in concert, an artist that struggled with positive thinking

Have you struggled with something and said that comment or something similar to yourself? Sure you have. Just about everyone uses some form of self-talk to boost motivation. There are several formal methods of positive self-talk, from mantras to affirmations. The success of these actions varies from person to person. Part of the reason for varied success is proportional to the amount of mental training and the quality of the training itself. 

Your mind requires as much work, training, and development for strength, perseverance, and determination as the hours we spend in the gym developing lean muscles and peak running times. The good news is some of this training can be done at the same time. Both physical and mental strength develop over time with consistency. One of the key differences with varied results is how some people just focus on the outcome, results and others having the ability to get the most out of each separate moment. It is as though the future state and result are separate from the current moment. This is one reason why within business management, a clear focus is upon processes. The theory being, a clear process will produce a positive result.

A process is one thing, yet the motivation of each person is also critical within a success journey. This is part of a reason why we see such a low engagement level at work. So, great leaders are superb at creating a positive atmosphere and a can-do attitude. Working in a fear environment leads to lower performance, higher staff churn rates, and mistakes. So, seek how you can bring your own best self to the work process so you yourself become part of the goal. This can be done through the use and power of self-talk and have it encouraged within wider teams. 

Selling confidence

Self-talk is the tool that sells to your mind self-confidence. This is like having a personal training for free, uploaded into your brain cells and deploying tips, advice in timely and powerful personal ways.

#Justdoit is a hashtag owned by the Nike brand with their slogan that has been embraced by millions across the world. This phrase has been used by their customers and internal business culture as a rallying cry. - What is your team or business wide rally cry to promote a positive self-talk message?

Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. wrote about a study applied with managers using positive and negative self-talk. The conclusion is clear, positive self-talk helps success.

Use of visualization reframing to overcome situations

For mental training to be effective, the approach must be at each personal level. This is the challenge for most companies; it simply becomes inefficient to have too many tailored systems. So, many suffer for the sake of a standard norm set by the business HR department. Yet, with a more open-minded and flexible management, each person can be encouraged to create their own unique system and process.

visualize the opponent

visualize the opponent

Creating planned time into one's day to develop and sustain mental toughness is important. Some use meditation, others mantras or affirmations etc. One of the key tools used by marketing to sports psychology is visualization. Practice visualization daily and be aware of the good days and bad days outcomes within the visualization.  This alone can help develop improved sensitivity to your own personality and how you may respond and perform with others plus how to respond better when unplanned challenges occur.

Through the use of visualization and other mental training techniques you notice your behaviors become more inter perspective and reflective. Over time this will reduce as you become more comfortable with the change of mental training. Soon, you will see your ability to handle situations and sustain performance for longer mentally is no different than a physical muscle – they both grow with training.

Visualization is used extensively within sports coaching Matt Neason provides an overview of its deployment and an overview of a basic starting system.

Beware of the utopia trap.

Once you feel the benefits of the improvements made from simple process mental training, beware of overconfidence and delusion. Just because you have visualized something it does not guarantee success. So, be prepared to deal with letdown, disappointment, and setbacks. Indeed this can be where your greatest steps in mental training will improve from.

The 3 wise monkeys

The 3 wise monkeys

So, goal setting can become part of a utopian trap. It is the result you wish to attain and achieve. However, you only control what you control. Measure and focus on the areas of your life that only you can affect and impact. Be honest with your self-measures of effort applied to improve.

“Just because you feel bad, does not mean you are going to fall apart.”

Setting initial realistic visions, actions and behaviors will stimulate and reinforce more of the same. You do not expect to compete with a marathon running finisher standard when starting your very first 5k jog. No, sit back, be realistic and review the progress made.

Dealing with the Law of Attraction

A very popular form of belief within the self-improvement community includes the promotion of the Law of Attraction. The most assumed concept simply believes that if you want something enough and then this will actually happen through positive thoughts and showing gratitude. Well, any young child can tell you that their dreams of flight or climbing up walls like spiderman had never been fulfilled into reality, no matter their thoughts, dreams, and aspirations to do it.

Yet, the LOA (Law of Attraction) does have some place here within positive thought. Indeed it is the most popular and modern version of new age thinking trying to bring about change for personal benefit. This embraces the concepts of powerful techniques such as visualization and being positive in every intention and interaction. So, the process provides an increase in the likelihood that others will be informed of your goals and you will be a positive person that will indeed become a higher priority for help. The logic is simple, a positive attitude attracts positivity in others – that I can agree with most of the time.

However, thinking without action and a firm plan is simply delusional wishful thinking. For goals to be attained you need to work with definite action and not just rely upon wishes.

Business Insider wrote a 12 point plan highlighting how the Law of Attraction can improve your life, it is worth a short read yet JAMSO does not fully subscribe to sustained mass adoptive success using the principles of LoA.

Right Thinking to avoid the wrong decisions.

The practice of positive thinking skills is to provide the basic tools when approaching objections and obstacles both mentally and physically. Right thinking takes you to an objective start point when facing hurdles. For example, when dealing with a high-stress situation, being aware that it is a high-stress situation and so making use of this situation to come with a positive outcome. It is the principle behind a solutions-based approach to problem-solving. So, a manager may say “do not come to me with just problems, come to me with 3 possible solutions”.

The challenge the user of right thinking skills is actually to know for sure that the help being provided is indeed correct. We use the tools of right thinking at JAMSO by selecting trusted sources that use methods we are also aligned with ethically.

Critical thinking applied to problem-solving and mental training.

I have already written a strong article with a focus on critical thinking skills. This powerful approach is great training for mental discipline. There is a clear step process and system that can be adopted across a business.

The core points with critical thinking and positive thoughts are to be realistic with your level of comprehension. Use facts and validation of available information sources and use these to help model and project an expected outcome. Mixed with a flexible approach to be willing for change when performance is not good enough, the system is supported with checks of bias and measures of progress.

Note: Critical thinking skills is possibly one of the hardest parts to do as, after all, humans are indeed emotional creatures.

Cognitive bias in the workplace and personal reactions

You and I have some form of natural bias in our thoughts. Some are more cynical, others very positive with expected outcomes, whilst many have developed opinions based on information or news sets over time. So, your information environment will impact the natural cognitive bias from person to person. This is why some have a higher use and impact of using positive thinking skill than others; they need it and use it.

Correcting one's cognitive bias is a continual tough challenge. Within a business environment, it becomes necessary to understand the culture of the business and then use that as a counterpoint to influence decisions whilst being aware of the bias placed. For instance, introducing a higher risk bias based on a principle of more positive outcomes from trials, products, markets, and customers. Likewise, this might be supported by some leadership members choosing to ignore facts presented as it does not support their own prior preferences.

Reader challenge: For the next 24 hours note as many personal cognitive bias behaviors you see within yourself and close family.

Praise and criticism

Feedback is an important self-improvement step. How you respond to praise and criticism is, therefore, the most vital part of a feedback loop. The key part of praise and criticism within self-talk is being self-aware and accepting accurate observations. When others provide feedback to you, beware of the approach that is being taken by both sides.

If the feedback provider is appearing critical, seek to understand also some of the positive points and observations. The opposite is true when they provide only positive praise, be confident enough to seek out and validate at least 2 development critical point areas.

So, listen to the feedback fully and challenge yourself to find other instances where the feedback is also true. This allows you to understand the significance of the observed behavior. If the response is based on a one-off single event situation then the response should be proportional. If however, the observations identify behaviors that are repeated elsewhere and frequently in similar or other circumstances.

An element of emotional self-control is needed for the person receiving and giving the feedback. As a receiver of feedback, some cooling off time might be needed to allow one's emotional defenses recover from taking a hit.

Creating a plan on how to deal with success and failure is a significant help to deal with praise and criticism. 

Projecting  confidence through visual positive thinking by  using self-image

If you want something done, ask a busy person.

Such is a typical manager’s phrase. So, why not ask people that are less busy to complete a task? Well, performers perform and so effective people are the ones to request rapid impacts and fast change. What do you think your self-image is mental? How do you think others perceive you? What do you want to be known for and develop towards? So, the message is thought and acts as the change you seek.

The self-image you give yourself will impact the priorities and expectations you set for happiness and disappointment.

Note: Just projecting an image you wish others to perceive is not sufficient. Pleasing others will never be enough for a feeling of self-worth and purpose. Instead, ensure the self-image you project also reflect the values and principles you also firmly believe in.

Brands in the mind and brands in life.

All the gear and no idea

 vs

Putting on your personally well-tailored suit can make you feel like a million dollars you are seeking
— James Doyle

How do you show and demonstrate your self-worth? Have you compromised your image and style with low-quality products and goods? This is an area to make you feel better about yourself.

So beware that simply driving around in a posh top market car will not bring you success. It does, however, help stimulate the emotions to be part of that brand and lifestyle. My personal natural bias is at this point yet there is no doubt that it works. I only need to look around me and reflect upon friends and colleagues alike to understand the importance this has.

So, consider your brand selection and image to portray who and what you want to be.

Respecting adversity as a catalyst for positive change and danger of consequences

Have you noticed that some people seek adversity in their lives; it makes them thrive and feel alive. This is because for some personalities respecting challenges is a way to test them and bring out their very best performance. Care should be taken for signs of potential burnout in such individuals. From PTSD recognized in the military to high sustained levels of stress in pilots or medical staff at the local accident and emergency departments, they run on a “high” of activity and perform outstandingly, yet over time are also required to remove themselves from such situations.

To grow, you need to realize that the only easy day was yesterday
— James Doyle

So the key message is that for people that seek and are exposed to extensive change and adversity, there is also a need to create some relaxation and downtime to reflect and process fully the experiences they have been exposed to. This is where coaching helps considerably and indeed is especially helpful if a business or person has a steep 18 month period of high intensity.

Positive thoughts by making  your bed every day

The military sets standards in every detail. So much so that even some irrelevant parts of its operations are subject to steep scrutiny and standards by its regulars and new recruits alike. One of these rules is the “make your bed daily” rule, which can include strict expectations for methods of pillow positioning and length of folds and methods of creating the bed. At first, these minor details can appear wasteful, yet there are many positive attributes this process and discipline brings for personal growth.

Daily repeats

Daily repeats

The start of each day is already completed with a positive outcome, which allows the brain to become process and detailed orientated. The step also reminds the soldier that a war is won over many bullets, strategies, and battles. Each element relies upon the successful execution of many supportive tasks. Each task must be performed on time and well, in order for ultimate success.

 

So these small wins on a daily basis help instill confidence, discipline, order and proportionality in every action, no matter the level or detail. Adopting a make your bed attitude is a useful and often overlooked example of positive thinking skills being supported with daily action routine.

Failure makes you stronger through extra repetitions

Embracing failure as a learning platform and not seen as pure defeat is the mark of a great champion and person that achieves long-term success. Normally, physical or mental failures are overcome by creating new remedial exercises to overcome the bars, standards, and hurdles presented. So, these extra mental or physical repetitions instill the discipline, accelerate your experience and allow fresh perspectives on challenges. The mental approach to extra repetitions is important not to be seen as a pure punishment but rather a reward to solve issues.

Affirmations

One of the most common forms of positive thought is the use of affirmations. I have written several articles on this subject already and have a dedicated Pinterest board for public reference.

Using positive sentences within framed situations as a positive marker helps stimulate ritual and habit and thus the correct and appropriately well-trained mindset.

Typical affirmation

Typical affirmation

Mantras

These are used mostly in various religious ceremonies across many cultures and have survived for thousands of years. No matter recent academic study, I always appreciate the natural selection of wisdom over time. So, if mantras are applied for specific information and attitude purpose, you should consider adopting the method and approach to your own benefit. Their use provides comfort and confidence to millions across the world.

Creating your own positive mantras is no different than other suggestions already written in this article, they come to the same conclusion via a different path. So feel free to create your own mantra and narrative to support the mental attributes you need.

Steps to move beyond just mantras:

1.       Understand the target or challenge you face

2.       Assess yourself

3.       Set process positive thinking steps and time

4.       Use focus to develop confidence

5.       Synchronize into a rhythm of daily life

6.       Repeat over time in a variety of circumstances.

7.       Reinforce action and goals

8.       Visualize outcomes and prepare for a variety of results.

9.       Stick with a routine that is unique to you.

Using the power of meditation

Meditation can be done anywhere

Meditation can be done anywhere

A powerful tool to help promote concentration skills, focus and clarity are the use of meditation. I shall avoid within the context of this article which form of meditation should be undertaken. That is a whole field of study all by itself. You should, however, apply the benefits to positive thinking found using meditative skills and techniques. Short or long sessions can take the time to develop their effectiveness but I suggest a variety of regular practice will soon provide you benefits that you can apply.

Final thoughts about thoughts and positive thinking techniques.

The use and application of positive thinking go back across our human history. We see it from historical readings through to today’s academic research for Olympians. The quest across this time has pointed to some specific areas of the positive outcome. The methods applied might vary yet they do hold some familiar attributes.

1)      Positive thoughts alone should be followed with firm action.

2)      Repetition and process provide good results over time.

3)      Combine mental and physical training is important when reaching significant personal hurdles.

4)      Most successful people use some form of mental training in an ongoing way.

So, no matter your goals, big or small I suggest you embrace change through the adoption of positive thinking. Consider a personal mix of the main points within this article to provide your personal and best outcome results.

I would love to hear your comments and experiences below in the comments. Plus do not forget to share this article across at least one of your social media platforms.