A Roadmap towards Positive Thought-Patterns
Life is effort-return phenomenon. People make efforts to actualize returns. There is nothing more frustrating than putting in lots of effort and getting no desired results. The secret to the wasted efforts lies dominantly in a person. A survey indicated that 75% of businesses are failed in their initial phase, first 3 to 5 years, and the major reason of business failures, about 90%, are executives. They are not genuinely prepared for the task in hand. In addition, an established business may also decline or can produce less than optimal results due to negative mindset or stagnant behavior of executives.
Human behavior is predominantly the outcome of his/her mindset. Mindset affects the actions of a person and outcomes of efforts, having a negative mindset or even a neutral mindset can distort the actions and undermine the efforts. How it works? Answer is simple, whenever a person possesses a negative mindset, he radiates negativity. Negativity means pessimism, despair, and disinterest. It compels people to avoid/dislike/misinterpret him. Moreover, when a person is negative, he tends to see only hurdles and magnify them. And when someone sees only hurdles or magnifies hurdles wrongly, he tends to feel stress. When a person is feeling lots of stress, he can’t be sensible or creative. Therefore, a negative mindset undermines rationality creativity, dynamism, and productivity. In contrast, a positive mindset allows someone to deal with inevitable challenges with rationality, creativity, dynamism, and resourcefulness.
The complete positive or negative mindset is a special phenomenon. In real life, we come across with partial positive or negative mindset. A person may be positive at some situations or negative at some other situations. However, its effectiveness is normally misunderstood and misused. We make an effort to comprehend its nature, importance and significance for its better usage.
Suppose there is a glass. It is half full or empty with water. If we take a small survey and ask about the water situation in the glass, there would be two true answers:
· First, glass is half full with water,
· Second, glass is half empty with no water.
It is said that the group of persons mentioning it half full are optimist or have positive mindset; on the other hand, the other group is pessimist or have negative mindset. It is not right conclusion. Both statements are true or scientific. The positive or negative mindset is indicated when a person delivers a statement about or respond with some predictable exactness / exaggeration. A mindset refers to a framework of intentions, perceptions, and emotions held by a person so established that predetermines a person’s response to and interpretation of situations /persons.
We take a few real life situations to fully grasp the concept and the characteristics that make up a negative or positive mindset:
1. A person faces a new situation/person and takes it with doubts without any scientific basis; it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of doubtful mindset are – doubt about personal strengths, expect failures, and doubt on ground realities. (Doubt)
2. A person faces a novel situation/person and loose mental stability and responds with volatile attitude; it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of volatile mindset are – lethargic response, impatient behavior, whimsical decision making. (Volatility)
3. A person faces an unfavorable situation/person and loose self control and responds with anger; it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of unjust mindset are – under or over estimations of abilities, excessive criticism on mistakes, and mild response on blunders. (Injustice)
4. A person faces a surprised situation/person and feels envy but responds with jealousy, it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of jealous mindset are – happy response on someone’s miseries, sad feelings on someone’s success, & defamation of opponent. (Jealousy)
5. A person faces a disliked situation/person and responds proudly without any scientific basis, it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of proud mindset are – perfectionist approach, slavery of habits, and dictatorial stance during decision making. (Proud)
6. A person faces an unexpected situation/person and considers it a threat without any scientific basis; it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of fearful mindset are – fear of future, fear of criticism, and fear of failure. (Fearful)
7. A person faces a new situation/person and feels frustration and respond with grief sentiments; it is indication of negative mindset. The other examples of grief mindset are – overwhelmingly critical behavior, pessimism, and disbelief on real success. (Grief)
These examples indicated seven major negativity traps or vicious circles of mental framework that make up a negative mindset. The solution to avoid the vicious traps is to develop a mental framework with positive intentions, positive perceptions, and positive emotions.
Naturally human mind has two sides – left and right. The left side is logical, analytical, and critical. On the other hand, the right side is intuitive, creative and synthetic. The left side is problem seeker while the right side is problem solver. Both sides have their own importance and significance. In addition, we have two levels of mind – conscious and subconscious. The subconscious mind is filled with energy and power to accomplish multiple insurmountable tasks but is led by our conscious mind. Conscious mind makes selection from continuous stream of thoughts (negative & positive) and develop a working pattern or belief system for subconscious mind. It is a continuous process of selection and execution remain active in everyone’s life.
Unfortunately, negative thoughts have a tendency to flit into our conscious mind, involve left side of mind turning down the right side of the mind, do their damage and then flit back to continuous stream of thoughts; the significance of process is generally unnoticed. In addition, we hardly perceive them as negative thoughts; we do not challenge them properly so that they may reside in our mind and can distort our mental framework, now and then. Fortunately, the same process is with positive thoughts. They blink in our conscious mind, involve both sides of mind, without letting down any side of mind, do their constructive work and flew back to thought stream. It is hardly to notice them and to harness for permanent constructive activity. By noticing, captivating, maintaining, and protecting a positive thought, we can make them a permanent part of our mental framework for everlasting fruitful results.
Mindset is combination of intentions, perceptions and emotions. It has three powers for execution, i.e., will power, intellect power, and emotional power. These powers are essential ingredients of our mind. Equilibrium is necessary for the stability of mind pyramid; however, equilibrium may be wise or positive and unwise or negative.
MINDSET DEVELOPMENT-Self Suggestion
We have learned the mind anatomy with negativity traps that make our life miserable and unhappy. We can move now towards positive mindset. To avoid negativity traps, self suggestion is considered the best technique for mindset development. The words and phrases of self-suggestion should be real, constructive, energetic and dynamic. By continuous repetition we can make a positive image of self. A person can make his own list; however, we mention a few quotes:
· Anything fruitful for humanity will must realize sooner or later,
· Any right effort with right intent and methods will must produce good results,
· There is no real/permanent threat only opportunities,
· Any misery has blessing in disguise,
· Success is not pursued, it is attracted,
· Gratitude brings benefits,
· Patience is best and fruitful strategy in difficulties, and
· Courtesy costs nothing but buys everything.
Any positive suggestion is reacted by negative suggestion. A war is started in mind about these self suggestions with negative suggestions. The process remains active until a belief is not finalized. A belief may be negative or false and positive or true. A negative belief about something/someone, e.g., life is aimless, no real relationship is possible, the hells are always the others,success is impossible, miseries are permanent, benefits are short-lived, and difficulties are long lasting. A negative belief produces or breeds new negative beliefs and a negative belief system is developed. A negative belief system plays havoc with an individual or system or society. A scientific / factual approach is strictly needed to avoid a negative belief system. There are two tested weapons for negative suggestions – Knowledge and Wisdom. Knowledge is a weapon used at conceptual level to counter negative suggestions/beliefs, while, the wisdom is applied at practical level. A suggestion based on knowledge and wisdom would be free from negativity traps. It is noteworthy that a rational person can make errors but not systematic errors. We learn from past errors / other’s errors and adjust our beliefs and actions accordingly.
We take an example from socio-economic life to establish and internalize the whole concept. It is three steps road map towards positive mindset – Thought Awareness, Rational Limitation, and Self Suggestions.
Step – I (Thought Awareness)
Suppose you are going for some presentation / negotiation. There are some typical negative thoughts you might experience about presentation / negotiation:
· Fear about the quality of performance, technical problems that may come up, and harsh criticism;
· Worry about the reaction of peers, general audience, and stakeholders;
· Doubt on real strengths / potential opportunities,
· Visualizing the negative consequences of a poor performance;
· Self-criticism over less than perfect preparation, rehearsal and practice,
· Frustration or Anger on certain real inadequacies or deficiencies.
These negative thoughts / negativity traps can damage confidence, harm performance, paralyze mental skills, and radiates negativity.
Step – II (Rational Limitations)
In rational limitation process you challenge the negative thoughts and counter them with rationality. Looking at some of the examples, the following challenges could be made to these common negative thoughts:
· Quality of performance: Have you gathered the information you need and prepared it properly for the event? Have you conducted a reasonable number of rehearsals, real or mental? If so, you’ve done as much as you can to give a good performance.
· Technical Problems and issues outside your control: The key to develop a rational limitation for successful presentation / negotiation on technical problems is to realize that you cannot control all relevant factors in your presentation / negotiation that may create a distraction. While you can control your own behavior or your organizational skills, you cannot control traffic jams, airline delays, power shutdown, computer network outrage, and communication problems due to damaged equipment. However, it is important to consider the possible risks and necessary steps to mitigate their effects.
· Fear about harsh criticism / Worry about other people’s reaction: If you perform the best you can, then you have given a good performance, fair people are likely to respond well. If people are not fair, then the best thing is to ignore them and rise above any unfair comments.
· Problems during practice: If some of your practices were less than perfect, then remind yourself that the purpose of practice is to identify problems so that they will not be repeated during the performance. Similarly, ask yourself whether it is reasonable to expect perfect performance. All that is important is effective/great performance not perfect.
Step – III (Self Suggestions)
By now, you would be more positive. The final step for effective positive mindset is to prepare self-suggestions to counter any remaining negativity. Continuing with the same example, some positive affirmations could be:
· Quality of performance: “I have prepared well and have rehearsed thoroughly. I am ready to give an excellent performance.”
· Problems of distraction and issues outside your control: “I have thought everything that might reasonably happen and have planned how I can handle all likely contingencies. I am well equipped to react flexibly to any surprised situation.”
· Worry about other people’s reaction: “Fair people will react reasonably to a well-prepared performance. I will rise above any unfair criticism in a mature and professional way.”
Usually, people have advocated positive thinking with a piece of exaggeration, as a solution to everything. It is also an indication of negative mindset in the garb of positive thinking. Positive thinking must be accompanied by actions such as planning, preparation and practice.
Secondly, positive thinking must demand positive associations. Positive associations lead to creativity, cooperation, solutions, and bigger dreams. It’s often said that the books you read and the people you associate will determine where you’ll be in next three to five years.
A Roadmap towards Positive Thought-Patterns