Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Staying Positive

“How do you stay positive when the entire world around you is negative and wanting to bring you down?”

It’s a highly relevant question at a time when the news every day brings more information about companies in trouble and an economy under stress.

The question was posed by John Assaraf of OneCoach, and while he has a more detailed and involved answer, explaining how to create prosperity in a recession by using the unique opportunities that the situation has to offer, I’ll try to give you the short answer.

The first step is to recognize that negativity is not the entire world around you, even though it might seem to be. If all the news is bad, that’s really just the news media you’re looking at — and not even the entire news media at that. If I look around here as I’m writing this, I see the sun shining and the ice melting outside, cookies baking in the oven, and e-mail messages from people who want to hear from me. That’s all good news.

There is always good news, so whenever the world seems to be all bad news, it’s the result of the way you’re focusing on it. And part of the way you’re focusing is worry. In other words, the news can’t be all bad unless your throwing in some things that haven’t actually happened yet, and might not happen at all.

The best way I know to consistently stay positive when much of the news you’re hearing is disappointing is to focus regularly on what you can do to make things better, or on what I like to call opportunities — because anything you can do that will improve your situation is really a kind of opportunity. When I start to get off track in my thinking, I use this question (from my brand-new book Fear of Nothing) to return my focus to what I can do:

What can I do today to put myself in a stronger state at the end of the day?

I always find plenty of answers to this question, and even if the things I think of seem small and unimportant at the time, doing a few of them gets me going in the right direction again.

On days when the world seems to be spinning in the wrong direction, it’s really just happening in your thoughts, and you can change your thoughts by changing your focus. And this is especially important to remember in a time when there seems to be more bad news than usual. When the latest headline is negative, you can still stay positive.