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Powered by the Positive

Thanks to evolution, we’re hardwired to anticipate and brace for the worst, but this tendency can quickly derail us in contemporary life. 


Here’s where the power of positive thinking comes into play. By positive thinking with a healthy combination of optimism and openness: a quality of being hopeful that things will work out and confident that everything will be ok even if they don’t. It all comes down to our expectations. This can be best understood if we break it down into three parts: how to think positively in terms of what we expect of a situation, what we expect of others, and what we expect of ourselves.


What We Expect of a Situation


Thinking positively and optimistically is empowering when we apply it to the challenges and opportunities we face every day. For instance, inventors who took considerable risks before creating and achieving anything of value. If they didn’t have a positive spirit and certain hopefulness about possible success amid uncertain outcomes, we might still be without many of the tools and technologies that we rely on every day. In general, it will serve you well to be upbeat and hopeful, if only because it will help you to keep trying new things until you make progress.


What We Expect of Others


Because we often unconsciously put up walls in our dealings with others to protect ourselves, this can be a more challenging arena for positivity. It can be tempting to expect the worst from others, or at least to expect that they will let us down. Unfortunately, when we do so, we’re limiting ourselves and our relationships before they’ve even had a chance.


Let’s consider two common scenarios to see how this works. At work, have you ever expected that a colleague wouldn’t (or couldn’t) shoulder their responsibility and you’ve gone ahead and done their share for them so that the whole team (including you) wasn’t penalized? It might seem like you’re being helpful, but assuming their incompetence wastes your time and robs them of the chance to prove themselves. You’ve effectively weakened the whole team both now and for the future, and you’ve created an unnecessary burden for yourself. In the romance department, have you ever gone into a first date expecting that you wouldn’t like the other person? Entering the situation with this mindset might have left you looking for shortcomings in the other person, if only to prove to yourself that your assumptions were accurate.


I offer these examples to shed light on some of the many ways we unwittingly undermine others and, by extension, ourselves. If we can shift our thoughts to assume the best in people by hoping that they prove themselves worthy—and giving them the chance to do so—we open ourselves up to the possibility of much stronger relationships.


What We Expect of Ourselves


The most daunting arena for positivity, expecting the best from ourselves, is in many ways also the most important. If we have the right mindset, we would pursue loftier goals with more pleasure and a higher success rate. A challenge for you: The next time you instinctively shy away from something that makes you nervous—asking for a promotion, befriending someone who challenges you, or setting an ambitious goal for yourself—think about how you could approach things with a truly positive mindset.

 

Our attitudes shape our actions and our impact. If we can embrace positive thinking in our behaviors, we’re much more likely to achieve positive results.

 

Reference: Jan Bruce is the CEO and Co-founder of meQuilibrium. A widely recognized authority on balanced, healthy lifestyles and sustainable living,