The 6 Things All Truly Positive People Have In Common
Why your thoughts are your most unique power
If an alien from outer space were to land on the earth today and take a look around at everything going on in the world it would be easy to see why it’d seem pretty bleak.
In fact, it’d be easy to forgive anyone today for having a pretty gloomy outlook on everything going on, and everything to come.
The period of time we are currently living through makes it clearer than ever how little control we truly have over our own circumstances and over the things that happen to us. Climate change, and war and global pandemics are all challenges that will affect our lives again in the not too distant future. Couple these bigger issues with smaller twists of fate that we never know could befall our lives- an accident, the death of a loved one or the loss of financial stability and income, and it quickly becomes apparent that we have limited influence and control over our own circumstances. We can only really control one thing.
This one thing, however, is perhaps the strongest and most powerful thing on earth.
The human mind is an amazing machine. It is the vessel through which you and I and everybody else perceive and experience everything that is happening around us. Not only that, but the mind also reflects on our past experiences to shape our current reality, and looks forward to the future to construct thoughts and visions of what may happen.
We have a unique power in our own thought processes, and the power to shape and control our own thoughts. And now, more than ever, our outlook on our reality will shape our own futures, how we live through the current challenges in the world, and how we live through the challenges of the future.
Here are some of the thought processes adopted by the most resilient, and positive people. The ones who will make something of any situation, no matter how dire. The ones who will thrive. The ones who are the reason I am sat here today, writing this article.
1. They don’t dwell on ‘what-ifs’
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking of all the things that could’ve happened, or that we could have done if only one thing had turned out differently. In our own heads, we think about the past, and it becomes all too easy to get lost in alternate realities that seem infinitely better than our own if only we had chosen to do something different, or hadn’t been held back by that one major event.
This is harmful thinking.
Thinking this way promotes dwelling on the initial problem which breeds constrained and circular thought spirals. These repeated thought patterns counteract acceptance or moving forward from our setbacks. Becoming lost in the past prevents us from looking forward to the future.
Avoid spiralling thoughts about ‘what-if-x-hadn’t-happened-then-I-could’ve-done-y’. A helpful exercise is to jot down all these thoughts on a piece of paper, and then to discard it. Make the promise that from today, you are moving forward with your own future reality. You are living now, not in the past.
2. They think about what they want to happen
So many of us spend our lives anxious and thinking about what we don’t want.
“I don’t want them to dislike me.”
“I don’t want to be thought of as weird.”
“I don’t want to mess up and fail this interview.”
“I don’t want to lose my job.”
The problem is focusing on what we don’t want is that it becomes easy to get lost in negative thought patterns about it. We repeat the thoughts of what we want to avoid like mantras, and as a result, they become our reality. By being focused on the negative outcome, that is what we tend to attract even when we don’t realise it.
Instead, what truly positive people do is to think about what they do want. They focus on what they want from a situation and what they want to happen.
“I want to be well-liked and make a good impression.”
“I want to be seen as an individual with a unique perspective.”
“I want to be my best self at this interview.”
“I want to advance in my career.”
These repeated thoughts alone are enough for the subconscious mind to start reframing our thinking and making those thoughts a reality.
Start to notice your own thought patterns. Do you focus on what you want to happen? Or what you want to avoid? Your wants and needs are valid. By framing your thoughts towards the positive outcome, you change your reality and the things that will happen to you.
3. They see every experience as an opportunity
The concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is often subjective.
Aside from major life-altering events (most would agree a tragic accident is a terrible experience, and winning the lottery is an amazing one), the concept of good and bad in the context of everyday experiences is determined by the thoughts of the individual.
Here’s something new: rather than categorising the events that befall us into one of two boxes, we can simplify this into one box.
This box is labelled opportunity.
The most positive thinkers among us know that everything that happens on a day-to-day basis is simply an opportunity. This is amplified especially if the experience has an element of uncertainty or the unknown. Think of life as a game where the objective is to collect as many opportunities as possible.
Reframing things simply as experiences and opportunities, rather than attaching a positive or negative label to them helps us to take more chances and to realise that most things are overwhelmingly more likely to add a net positive to our lives going forward.
4. They speak as kindly to themselves as they do to others
I’m going to go ahead and make a very positive statement: most people aren’t assholes.
Unless there is a reason for not doing so, most people talk very kindly and practice forgiveness, empathy and kindness when it is projected externally. This often most applies to casual acquaintances or people we have just met.
We often find it harder to speak as kindly to the person we have known the longest and know the best in our life: ourself.
It’s all too easy to find ourselves being our own harshest critic, holding ourself to impossibly high standards and tearing ourselves down for the slightest setback. Start to consider yourself and your feelings the same way you would consider someone you had just met. Start to listen to your own thoughts, and reframe them as though you were giving advice or encouragement to an acquaintance. Be forgiving of yourself, recognise when you need a break or when you are burnt out. Give yourself praise, get excited about your achievements and celebrate them.
5. They don’t compare themselves with others
Truly positive people focus on their individual experiences.
They know that everyone is the unique sum of their experiences, habits, lifestyle, passions and individual circumstances. As a result, every single person has a unique reason for being where they are in life or achieving the things they do.
Comparing yourself to others is pointless. Everyone starts from a different point in life. Looking at someone else and wondering why you aren’t measuring up to them only does yourself a disservice and undervalues the things you have achieved.
Similarly, truly positive people are genuinely happy for other’s success. They know that when someone else wins it doesn’t detract from their own success or achievements. They see people as separate individuals and celebrate and raise up others without inserting their own ego into things.
The truth is, there is not a finite amount of success in the world.
One person’s achievement doesn’t mean that there is one less great thing in the world for you to accomplish. Everyone is on their own path in life, and you too will accomplish great things. Stop seeing life as a competition and detach from measuring up to others.
You too will be great.
6. They know that everything is temporary
If you’ve skimmed to the very end of this article, this is the most important takeaway.
Life is always changing. Nothing is constant, nothing is forever. Everything is temporary. One moment is just that, a moment, and then the action of just something else happening is enough to change the state of everything forever.
Bad experiences, bad days and bad thoughts are real. Sometimes not even the most positive thinking can reframe that. The bad days are as valid as the good. The most powerful, positive thinkers in life acknowledge that such things exist.
The difference between them and most other people is that they know everything is temporary. This means that any negative experience will not last forever. As soon as it has happened, it is already on its way out.
A bad day simply means better ones are coming and that life is changing. We have to look forward. We’re all going somewhere without a destination, in a cycle of constant change. This too shall pass. The best is by far yet to come.