Positive Thinking has been written about for centuries. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher and former slave, in the First Century said, “The thing that upsets people is not so much what happens but what they think about what happens.” Likely the first origin of Positive Thinking thinking.
Why do so many philosophers, writers, motivational speakers and coaches talk so much about Positive Thinking?
Epictetus also said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” (he’s the one who first said that in the First Century!), and “No man is free who is not master of himself”. Amazing original thinker with lasting impact.
Through the ages scholars, philosophers, writers and thinkers from all walks of life have posited on the concept of Positive Thinking.
Ralph Waldo Emerson contributed early to the Positive Thinking movement with his many essays. He emphasized self-reliance. William James, a philosopher, wrote “The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.”
In the 1950’s Norman Vincent Peale wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” which became a best seller for decades and inspired many to explore the power of positive thinking.
Today we have writers and motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Susan Jeffers (author of “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway“), Steve Covey, Louise Hay (author of “You Can Heal Yourself”) and Wayne W. Dyer. Dyer was a prolific author, speaker, philosopher who had a powerful quote that capsulizes the essence of Positive Thinking, “When You Change the Way You Look at Things…the Things You Look at Change.” All these thinkers shared a perspective that Positive Thinking can have a positive impact on our lives.
There’s a way of thinking, even a movement, called The Law of Attraction. This belief is based in the idea of practice. If we practice each day and throughout the day re-framing our thoughts and chatter in our mind, from negative to positive…good outcomes will follow.
Can our thoughts impact our reality? I strongly believe thinking positively can bring us positive results. There is a correlation between thinking positively and positive outcomes. I have seen the power of Positive Thinking work in my coaching practice with my clients.
Some of my clients present a clear pattern of negative thinking when they talk to me. They may use repeating words like “it’s difficult,” “things are so hard,” and “I can’t.”
I bring this pattern of negative thinking to their attention early in their coaching experience. I stop them; bring this negativity of thinking to their attention. And I propose that they practice, 1) noticing the negative chatter pattern as they go about their daily lives, and 2) make a conscious decision that each time they “catch themselves” in this negative thought pattern they will practice re-framing the negative thoughts into a positive thoughts.
It works. It really does. Changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts has positive impacts…when practiced and repeated.
What is the one aspect of our life we have control over?
There really is only one. It’s our ATTITUDE.
Think about it…we don’t control what happens to us, the circumstances of life that happens. I mean life happens. What is important…and the only thing we actually can control…is our ATTITUDE about what happens.
If we can frame our attitudes positively, better outcomes will follow. It takes practice. Try it. Begin to note your specific patterns of thinking, the chatter in your mind. Are your thought patterns positive, or do they tend to be negative? If negative, start to catch yourself and re-frame those negative thoughts into positive thoughts.