I’m speculating about what’s in the air because three clients have said something very similar in the last couple of weeks – they are choosing to be positive.
Genius and seemingly endless source of superb quotes, Albert Einstein said,
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
It’s what we choose to believe. Glass half full or half empty. Same glass, different perspective, different choice.
All three clients have experienced difficulties and faced challenging circumstances over the last 5 – 8 years. They each said that there were times when they were overwhelmed by what was happening to them, that there seemed to be no way out. I understand what they are saying because I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to think that you’re stuck, you have no power, no choices, that there is no way out, no forward path.
So, what changed?
I found ways to take control and create options. I talked to a coach. I found my way out by looking at what I could change, the things I could influence…and what I could let go of.
I took control but, equally, I accepted that I couldn’t (and shouldn’t try to) control everything.
And I could only choose how I acted and reacted. I also examined my limiting beliefs, including, ‘I can’t leave my job, we need the money’. True we needed money to live but it was false that I needed to get the money by staying in a job that was squeezing the life out of me.
Ten years ago when I started my coaching practice, I saved this article by Liz Sterling in the Huffington Post on changing negative into positive thinking and occasionally re-read it. It still makes me stop and think. The header sets out the two key requirements to change our perception and thinking patterns:
We can change negative thinking into positive thinking and maybe free ourselves from the imprisonment of limited perception. It requires two main ingredients: awareness and enthusiasm.
Awareness and enthusiasm. Intention and action. Being conscious, as I said, about making a clear choice, then embracing it and putting it into action. And knowing that we can change the way we think.
We can choose a different perspective and shift our focus.
Thinking about how our brains work and how we change our behaviours, there is sound data to suggest that we can change how we perceive the world and react to it.
Neuroplasticity is the way the brain makes new connections between neurons and builds new networks in response to our experience of the world around us, the things we do, think and feel as responses. This ability to flex and grow new ways of responding enables us to rewire our brain to introduce new patterns of thinking and acting. It’s how we learn a new skill and get better at it.
Self-directed neuroplasticity and resetting the agenda that we focus on can help us reprogramme our brain to change unhealthy thoughts about ourselves into healthy ones by intentionally shifting attention to positive ways of acting and thinking, helping us overcome limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviours. Look at the power of CBT if you want to learn more.
By making a conscious choice to do or not do something and repeating that positive choice starts to create a habit, build momentum and seed more positivity.
For example, become more self-assertive or boost your confidence by listening to the negative voice and words you are using and intentionally replacing them with positive ones.
If you’d like to choose positivity but aren’t sure how to start then why not get in touch with me at Career Therapy.