Enjoy this guest post from Don who writes for Breath of Optimism, a personal development site that helps readers to be the best person they can be.
How do you see things in life? Through a glass half empty or a glass half full? If you are one that tends to see the negative side of things, I urge you to change your ways as your perspective can be limiting you in life. Maybe you aren’t where you thought you would be because of how you view things. If you could change your perspective, you could see a great change in your life.
Every Situation Has Two Sides
In life, we tend to only focus on one side of the coin, either the positive side or the negative side. For whatever reason, most of us are wired to look at the negative. As such, we go through life always focusing on the negatives, finding fault in everything.
When we view life in the negative, we have added worry, stress and unhappiness in our life. But when we view life in the positive, we have little to no worries and we live each day to its fullest.
For me, I’ve been someone that tends to look at the bright side of life. I can remember a big decision I had to make at a young age that illustrates this perfectly.
When I was in the sixth grade, I had the opportunity to leave public school and attend a private school. The private school had a 100% college acceptance rate while the public school I was attending had a college acceptance rate closer to 70%. The class sizes were smaller at the private school, which meant more one-on-one instruction and the courses were harder.
I had a big decision to make and my parents left it up to me. Talk about pressure at 12 years old! Being young, I didn’t know what to focus on other than the main benefit, getting into college. It’s something my parents always preached about.
After a few days, I made up my mind, I was going to attend the private school. My Mom then asked me, “what about all of your friends you are leaving behind?” I never thought about this, but without hesitation, I stated “I’ll make new friends”.
Had I let a negative perspective cloud my judgment, I might have balked at attending private school because I was going to lose my friends. But I didn’t focus on that. I focused on the positive side, making new friends. In the end, I did make new friends, and those friends who I was close with at the public school, I remained friends with then, and now 20 years later.
Learn To Think Differently
If you are a person that focuses on the negative, how do you change? How do you start to focus on more positive outcomes in life? I’ve found that the following four ways help tremendously.
Start Off Finding Small Positives In Life: As much as we would like to go from zero to 60 instantly, life doesn’t work this way. As such, you can’t just start focusing on the positives all of the time if you’ve always been one to focus on the negative. You have to start small.
Find any little thing you can and focus on the positive. Did you hit all of the green lights on the drive into work? Great! Acknowledge it. Did you have a great night sleep? Great! Acknowledge it. Did you have a poor night sleep? Don’t focus on how tired you are, focus on the fact that you got the rest that you did.
It might seem silly at first to do this, but by finding the positive in the little things in life, you will live a happier, more successful life.
As you find positives in the little things, it will become easier and you will start focusing on these things without even realizing it.
When Big Decisions Arise, Don’t Rush To Judgment Many times, when we have to make big decisions, we rush ourselves and place unneeded pressure to make a quick decision. This leads us to be emotional and no one makes smart decisions when they are emotional.
By taking a step back, you can assess the situation with a calm, clear mind. This will help you to look at all the various sides of the situation and better find the positive instead of just focusing on the negative.
For me, I write down my immediate thoughts. Then I step away for a few hours. Then I write down my thoughts again and compare the two. It’s amazing how much a little time to think matters.
Seek The Wisdom Of Others Having a mentor or trusted friends is a key to a successful life. Whenever I have big decisions to make or don’t know how to proceed, I turn to my friends. They usually have a completely different view on things and help me to see things differently.
For example, I might see a negative to a certain situation, but they see a positive that I was missing. Alternatively, they might see how something good has even more potential than I am seeing. Bouncing things off of trusted friends is a great benefit.
Look Long Term We tend to focus only on short term gratification. We ignore the long term for short term pleasure. This is why so many people are in credit card debt. They want something now and don’t care that they don’t have the money for it. They live in the moment and will deal with the future when it becomes the present.
Learn to look long term. What is the result of your choice 5 years or 10 years down the road? Oftentimes, we will come to a completely different conclusion when we look at the long term instead of just the short term.
Had I focused on the short term, I would have stayed at public school so I could be with my friends. But long term, getting a college degree was going to get me much farther in life.
Changing your perspective on life and learning to focus on the positive side of things can move you further in life. If you aren’t where you want to be or where you thought you would be, I urge you to take a few minutes and look back at your life.
Are you stuck because your perspective, your negative outlook, is limiting you? If this is the case, I recommend that you begin to look at life differently, in a more positive light. You’ll be surprised at where it takes you.
Questions for Discussion: Are you more naturally drawn to the negative or the positive? Why so? What helps you keep the right perspective on the things going on around you? Who do you reach out to most for advice? Are you more of short-term or long-term thinker?