By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator
Despite the challenges we may face – whether it’s at home, at work, with our family, at school – does it seem hard to believe that there’s more right in your world than wrong?
As a coach and speaker, I find that most of my clients and audiences are tuned in to what’s not working instead of what is working. Why is that when there is clearly so much more right than wrong?
First, our brains are programmed to watch for danger. Our fight or flight response is designed to help us survive. That part of the brain isn’t interested in loving life, doing great things, seeing the best in others – it is just there to help us be aware of anything that challenges our survival.
Try this: change your mindset. Though you may have been programmed to watch for the negative, learning to be more self-aware helps you start to notice your emotions and energy. You can’t control or change what you don’t notice.
During your day, start to ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” If the answer is a negative, unhappy or unproductive feeling, know that you have the ability to change your mindset just by noticing the negative. With this awareness, shift your mindset to being more open, optimistic and opportunity focused.
It takes practice but it can be done. You choose your emotions and energy level. You choose how you want to relate to that challenging boss, that upset customer or the long line at Starbucks. You don’t have to be upset. You could be calm, happy, content. Tap into these emotions by being more aware.
And second, we are surrounded by negative news. Terrorism, politics, conflicts, hacking, security, divorce, reality TV, wars. We are confronted with a 24-hour stream of negativity because, as the media outlets know, bad news sells.
Try this: control what you listen to. Remember, you are the owner of your life. It is your choice to tune out when you need a break. Switch it out for something that is empowering, engaging, supportive, entertaining and educational. Replace it by spending time doing what you love and enjoy. Limit time on social media, choose reputable and news-focused organizations to stay updated on your world, or listen to music or mind-engaging podcasts.
Just because the world talks loudly doesn’t mean you always have to listen. For a good essay about this, check out George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone.
You have to learn to see the good. Your world has made you cynical and part of your brain has made you defensive. The benefit is that life immediately changes when you first look for what’s working and what’s good, instead of what’s not working and what’s bad.
Important Questions from a Coach
- On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very negative and 10 is very positive, where are you now? Where were you yesterday? Where are you on the important things in your life?
- What is one thing you could do today to change how you look at yourself and the world around you, to watch for the good, the successes and the opportunities?
We can’t always control the situations that life sends us, but we certainly can choose how we see them. Learn to see the good.