On learning to be positive

If you pointed to a glass that was half-filled with liquid and asked me whether the glass was half-full or half-empty then I would very definitely say it was half-empty.  I am not a naturally positive person.  People do tend to be surprised at my natural lack of optimism but positive thinking is something that I’ve had to learn and I am always learning.

My consultant has encouraged me for many years to develop a sense of being positive and to explore ways of growing this.  I’ve learned about Eckhart Tolle’s “peak experiences” and felt them myself as I have carried the feelings of wonderful days over and over again until the feeling, the memory of the feeling sits inside my soul and waits to burst forth.  I have learned Taoism from Winnie the Pooh and now know that the tree in the hundred-acre wood is less likely to fall on me than I thought.  I have learned most recently whilst photographing the jelly baby family at Marble Arch in London that it is possible as a fully-fledged adult with a very serious life to be utterly awestruck in the most child-like manner at the sight of giant jelly babies.  Positive experiences help dissolve negative experiences.

I’ve learned that the suicidal feelings that I have are only negative if I act upon them.  If I keep suicide and the option to use it in a store cupboard in my head then it somehow reduces the chance that I’ll actually ever exercise the right to use that option.

I’ve learned that doing things in smaller bites leads to great big chunks being taken out of tiresome and onerous tasks.  A little faith goes a long way too.  If I believe I can do something no matter how impossible, chances are I will.  Baby spiders move huge distances given only a breeze and a line of silk.

One of my friends, Richard Latteman, is the most positive person I know.  I asked how I could get through the day-to-day stuff in a positive way and he told me this:

“Planning positively for a day actually starts the night before.  Before you go to sleep make a list of 3 things that you want to do the next day.  Make it 3 things that have a positive slant.  It might be doing something you enjoy or meeting someone you like.  It might be completing a task that needs to be done and in that case focus on how nice it will be to tick that item off your “to do” list. 

Overnight your subconscious will get so work on how to achieve those 3 things so when you wake in the morning you will have more idea about how to achieve your goals. 

In the morning the first thing to do is to review yesterday and find 3 good things that happened.  It might be the 3 things on your “to do” list or you may have other good stuff. 

Our natural tendency is to look at the negatives.  Hopefully by concentrating on the good stuff the negative things will be put in their right perspective. 

At the end of the day have a look at your list of 3 things that you put down the night before.  Pat yourself on the back for the ones you have achieved.  Don’t beat yourself up over any that you haven’t completed.  Concentrate on what you have achieved, however small. 

Remember that a habit takes 30 days to form.  After 30 days this process will become second nature and you will be becoming a more positive person – you can be taught to become positive!”

Richard Latteman can be found on Twitter as @bestequityman.

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