How do we cultivate a positive attitude? Our newsfeeds are often riddled with quotations on positivity, usually accompanied by an unrelated Minion, and plenty of books on the market circle around the same moral platitudes.
Maintaining a healthy positive outlook is a necessary skill in our educational and professional lives yet we never discuss the matter in concrete terms that can make life easier. So where do we start?
The first aspect of maintaining a positive attitude would be focus on things you can influence or do something about, rather than on those issues beyond your control. While this may sound like a no-brainer, it is surprising how often so many of us fail at this simple idea.
When something does not go precisely according to plan, it is deceptively easy to obsess over the pieces that did not fall in together, and feel as though there is no point going on with the project. However, in the real world nearly all on-paper plans fail early in the execution phase, and what sets the successful individual apart is the ability to salvage the plan and work with what remains.
In the words of Outkast, you can plan a picnic but you can't predict the weather. So while having a plan is important, we must also …
Plans will fail and things will go wrong. Instead of never trying in fear of failure or stubbornly denying the chances of it happening to you- leave room for it. This of course means you need to have backup and recovery options, but first and foremost it means you must face all such setbacks with a positive attitude. Why let what you cannot do interfere with what you can?
One could claim that if understood properly and applied appropriately, this one sentence can form the very core of having a positive outlook on things. As you tackle difficult missions and things go wrong, be sure to always focus on what you can do, not what went wrong.
This brings us to another aspect of facing unforeseen circumstances – the ability to adapt to them. Being able to thrive in any situation you end up in is an invaluable asset. All of us would prefer things to be just the way we like them, but that hardly ever happens in reality.
In fact, the United States Marines have an interesting approach to this issue, something they refer to as "train hard, fight easy." The basic idea is that you train under the most brutal circumstances possible, so that anything that happens in the actual war zone is actually easier than the training ground.
Another aphorism often used in this context goes "be comfortable with being uncomfortable." Once again, any one of us can apply these two principles to prepare oneself better for whatever obstacles may come in our pursuit of goals.
Most of us do not push ourselves enough and are not aware of our true abilities. Staying in one's comfort zone might be, well, comfortable, but is really detrimental to personal growth. Seek out challenges, and if those are hard to come by, maybe invent some for yourself!
My purpose with these pieces is to bring some issues out in the fore, and get the readers to start thinking about them. Hope you have been enjoying it so far. Keep reading for more!