How Do You Get a Positive Mindset?
For some people, the glass of water is always half empty. The problem is that if you aren’t careful, spending time around such people or thinking similarly negative thoughts means emptying water from your own glass.
“Positive thinking” is something that a lot of entrepreneurs and gurus say is an element of a healthy mindset and an important entrepreneurial quality – but it’s also got quite a fluffy sound to it, so it’s easy for some folks to dismiss. However, evidence suggests that stress resulting from negative surroundings and a lack of positivity contributes to many “real world” problems, including poor health and finance.
What like, I hear you ask?
This study suggests that bank loans are more likely to be awarded to positive, optimistic entrepreneurs, and leading “positivity scholar” Professor Barbara Fredrickson found that positive thinkers are more prone to resilience and high-energy, which are essential qualities in any motivated entrepreneur. The Karolinska Institute medical university found strong links between poor leadership behaviour and employee heart disease, suggesting that stress in the workplace physically affects people in a negative manner. Positive thinking also tends to motivate people and entrepreneurs, as this study revealed by recognising that the optimism of a group of NFL fans never waned, despite evidence for their team’s performance pointing to a negative outcome.
To be clear, when I talk about positive thinking and staying positive, I don’t mean to do so by burying your head in the sand or by deluding yourself. I don’t mean happy, clappy, nonsense hippy stuff. Instead, it’s a matter of adjusting your thought processes and behaviour so that they serve you more effectively, they build upon a positive mindset, and they help develop you as a motivated entrepreneur with all the qualities you need to triumph in your niche.
So let’s take a look today at some methods to deal with the negativity that life throws at you, and how to improve both your entrepreneurial qualities and your daily motivation as you do so.
Dealing with negative people
Many people in the business world who want to achieve a productive, powerful mindset will tell you to sack off the people in your life who bring you down. They will tell you to surround yourself with positive, motivated, ambitious people, because their energy will become your energy, and you will end up inspiring each other and progressing as entrepreneurs together. This is great advice – up to a point.
The problem with this attitude is that you will always encounter negative people along the way, because there are some people in your life who you just can’t sack off. You can move yourself away from the ones who do not benefit you, but what about when these people are your family or friends? What about the peers you want to do business with, or the contacts who can offer your company something positive? And what about the people who are not being overtly negative, but are there to warn you, provide feedback, and keep you grounded?
One trick that I like to use when I’m around friends and family who are in a down mood is to be so damn positive that it either changes their mood and makes them smile, or it means that they no longer want to be around me at that point. Either way, I win, because I’ve tried to improve their mood without putting my own mood at risk.
Maintaining a positive outlook is essential to your mental health, your physical health, and your professional productivity, and it isn’t worth allowing negative people to erode from the outside.
Being careful what you allow into your brain
The people you spend time with largely contribute to whether you are surrounded by negative influences or positive ones – however, the net also extends to the things you watch and listen to, whether for fun or to help progress your entrepreneurial mindset. For example, when the show Homeland first began, I watched the first series for the escapism that a great TV show can bring about. But after the second series I realised that the subject matter was making me feel depressed, so, as well-made a show as it was, I stopped watching it. For the same reason, I’m careful about listening to the news and scrolling through Facebook, because you never know what people are going to share that could seriously affect your wellbeing on any day.
It pays to be more aware of the things you allow yourself to be influenced by. It’s been proven that negativity changes your neurology and the make-up of your brain, so that’s why I have a rule to guard myself from too many negative influences: be cautious and aware of what I’m allowing into my brain. Immersing myself in shows, books, music and information that serves to bring me down is a mistake.
Finding the right influences, and letting the rest go
Choose the right people to spend your time with, and don’t feel guilty about letting those who drag you down fall by the wayside. Always be polite and grateful to them, but if they are on the periphery of your social or even professional circle and you feel compelled to keep in contact with them, despite them bringing you down, ask yourself why. If you can’t answer that question with a convincing response about how the relationship benefits both your present and your future, let them go. You can even let yourself ignore their messages if you think that responding to them will drag you back into a situation that is harming you rather than lifting you up.
It is your responsibility to decide who you spend time with, and your responsibility to block and immunise yourself from damaging influences. Getting out to networking events is an ever-important way to put yourself in the company of hyper-positive entrepreneurs with powerful mindsets and successful companies, and there are few better ways as an entrepreneur to get motivated and find new sources of inspiration.
As I have already mentioned, it isn’t solely the people that you spend time around who you need to be aware of – it’s the entertainment you experience and the information you expose yourself to, as well.
Learn to filter out the unwanted dreck and increase the amount of positive, motivational inspiration in your life. Instead of listening to something that may drain you, tune in to positive audiobooks, enlightening podcasts and advice about personal development. Instead of watching a film that causes you to shut your brain down or which fills you with dread or misery, watch the life story of an inspiring historical figure or entrepreneur, or a documentary about something that excites you or fills you with gratitude for the blessings you have. Instead of replying to that frustrating comment or controversial post on Facebook, either leave it be or, better yet, unfollow the person or page that exposed you to it.
As a motivated entrepreneur, it’s essential to practice the qualities that make you a better, more effective, more professional businessperson. By surrounding yourself with positive influences, it’s almost impossible not to feel enthused by the things you listen to and watch, and the people you spend time with.
Being positive doesn’t mean meditating your troubles away or smiling in the face of a hurricane that’s heading your way. Problems need to be dealt with and disasters need to be avoided. You need to remain sceptical with your investments, too, and while it’s important to approach deals and new contacts with trust, you also need to verify the things you are being told.
By focusing on the positive and the energising, you give yourself the permission to enjoy your achievements, to survive the daily trials that an entrepreneurial business brings you, and to remain better prepared to face life’s tougher moments by building an armour of positivity around yourself.
How do you ensure that you continue to develop the entrepreneurial qualities you are looking for? How do you cope with positive and negative influences? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook!
Read about how to get more done in less time and how to enhance your entrepreneurial mindset in my book Life Leverage.
Read more about entrepreneurial qualities, mindset and motivation here.
Thanks for reading, and remember: if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.
"If you don't risk anything, you risk everything"
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