Positively Negative!

old-camera Photo: Old Camera by George Hodan

If you’ve read the same books on “Positive Thinking” that I have, they make it sound so easy:

  1. Really focus on what you want.
  2. Sit back and let the Positivity flow.
  3. Live Happily Ever After! 

Or something along those lines. Is it working for you? No, me neither! Because we live in the real, physical world. And we need to act on our dreams, and move a little closer to them.

So, where to begin? If you feel that you’re not moving forward with your life, inspiration isn’t that easy to come by.  The good news is that motivation can come in one of two forms: positive – moving towards what you want, or negative – moving away from what you don’t want. And if ‘negative’ is closer to what you are feeling right now, that’s where to start. Tap into your negative feelings.

For instance, if you’re overweight and you don’t like the way it makes you feel, be honest about it to yourself. Say why you’d like to lose those pounds. I know we’re told to focus on the Positive, but if you’re not in that place, it’s easier said than done. So, begin the process from where you are. Later, once you’re motivated, you can switch to the positive, and focus on why you want to be healthy, rather than why you don’t like being overweight.

You may want to try this:

  1. Make a list of what isn’t working in your life.
  2. Look at each point on the list, and write down what you don’t like about it. And why you’d like to move away from it.
  3. Focus on the “energy” of the list, and notice how different it feels, compared to being unmotivated. Use the negative energy of dislike to motivate you.
  4. Pick an item on the list and look for a small action you can take in connection with that goal. Add that onto the list.
  5. If the small action seems too daunting, break it down into even smaller tasks.
  6. Once you’ve completed a mini-task – celebrate, bask in the warm glow of satisfaction, and then pick another.
  7. Keep adjusting the list, so you gradually replace negative “moving away from” goals with positive “moving towards” goals, and keep including those practical steps. Leave your successes on the list.
  8. Once your list becomes more positive, check it and make sure that ‘Smiling’ and ‘Having Fun’ are included somewhere!
  9. Relax. You’ve earned it.
  10. Don’t quit on your dreams. Ever.


4 thoughts on “Positively Negative!

  1. Wonderful! I’m so tired of hearing about how “Negativity must be conquered” – Bull-puckey – those emotions/behaviors are there for a reason, and if you can just figure it out, then you’re on your way to making the changes you want –
    Kudos – and clapping – and whistling – –
    “Encore, Encore”

  2. Good points made here, Steve. I found your blog after someone recommended it at work. How about sharing some of your own experiences /specific examples of using positive thinking to achieve a goal? I always find it enlightening to hear about other people overcoming obstacles. The weight issue you referred to was interesting. I’m a bit hefty and was wondering about ways I could use positive thinking to shed a few pounds. Don’t know if this has ever been a problem for yourself. Do you think visualisation could work? Seeing myself slimmer etc. Let me know your views.

    • Thanks for the comments Matt. I think to make any action work, you have to be in a relaxed mindset first. If you’re thinking “I’ve got to…” you’re already making it difficult! Visualise the outcome you want, and start taking whatever action you can, that will move you towards your goal. Good luck!

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