Did you see that movie “I Feel Pretty”? A young woman felt frumpy, lumpy and unappreciated. She has an experience she is sure is real magic and suddenly ‘thinks’ she’s sexy and hot as hell. It changes her whole demeanor. She walks around confident, flirty and courageous in her efforts to get a new killer job and a boyfriend. This girl looks the same as before but she saw herself differently so acted differently and her whole world changed because of it.
The magic is fantasy but the results from that kind of mindset are very REAL
The way we think affects everything around and within us; our work, relationships, abilities, mood, outlook, confidence… EVERYTHING.
OK, so we need to be positive all the time. That’s easier said than done. Most of the time we don’t even realize how negative our thoughts are, let alone understand how to change them.
30 years ago, I had a friend unwittingly teach me a valuable lesson.
When I would say something negative about someone, she would respond with something like, “Maybe they were having a bad day.” Or “I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way.” I started to notice her behavior in contrast to my own. I wanted to be better.
I determined that every time I thought something negative about someone, I would replace that with 3 positives.
For example, when I’d get irritated at that person who cut me off with their car I would say, “They’re obviously in a bigger hurry than I am. They might be rushing someone to the hospital. They could be late for work.”
You get the idea. The more I did this the more my mind automatically viewed people with greater empathy. It was a cool experiment and it worked.
Throughout the years I have used that in every aspect of my life. I call it the 3:1 Method.
Here’s the thing. How can you fix something if you don’t know it’s broken?
We start by paying closer attention to our thoughts.
Ask yourself, “Was that thought positive or negative?” Don’t kid yourself into thinking a negative thought won’t affect you. It will.
Every thought has an impact.
Example; You lose your job. You think, “This sucks. I got screwed. The market is down. No way I can bla bla bla” or “Well, one door closes another one opens. There are opportunities out there and I’m going to find them.”
Which one of these thoughts is going to benefit this guy? It’s not that negative thoughts aren’t sometimes justified. They just aren’t going to do you any good so let’s train ourselves to think more positively.
Now that you’re aware of your thoughts lets implement the 3:1 Method. Each time you notice a negative thought, replace it with 3 positives. Some examples;
- “I can’t do this.” – “I’m going to figure this out.”, “I got this!”, “If anyone can do this, I can do this.
I’m relating big time to this one these days. I was in my comfort zone. Our business is doing great, I feel like I’m good at my job and I love it.
Then my son/partner gets this grand idea to start a new online company.
Sounds great! At first. Until I realize “online” means social media, (not my thing or his for that matter), graphic design-ish and a pile of technology I was completely ignorant of.
Every day, all day I was like,
“No way. My grandma brain is too old to pick up all this new stuff.”
Talk about self-doubt.
I had a give myself a good talking to. I said, “Do you think this new endeavor is of value? Do you believe you have something to offer here? Do you want to continue to expand your mind and abilities?” My answer was yes. So I told myself some of those things mentioned above and got myself to work.
- “My boss hates me.” – “I don’t need to be his best friend but I will be his best employee.”, “He’s pretty good at ____. I’ll try to emulate that.”, “Am I projecting? Maybe I’m not feeling like I’m doing my job well. I’ll do my job better.”
- “I’m old.” – “I’m aging to perfection.”, “I’m only old if I act old.”, “I’m in my prime.”
- “That girl is so annoying.” – “I should get to know her better. She’s probably alright.”, “She does have a great smile.”, “She is great at organizing events.”
If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that our negative impressions of people are usually wrong. When we take the time to get to know someone we can at least appreciate where they’re coming from.
I believe there are 2 kinds of people. People you like and people you don’t know yet.
- “I hate my dead-end job.” – “I’m going to be the best at what I do.”, “I’m going to consider alternative careers. A change could be good.”, “I’m capable of more. I’m going to continue to build my skill set and look for opportunities.” OR “I work with some great people.”, “The benefits are good.” “I love the freedom it gives me in my schedule.” The point is, stay and enjoy your job or move on.
All of this sounds like sunshine and roses, I know. We don’t instantly start seeing the world in such a positive light. It takes awareness of your thoughts and a persistent effort to improve oneself verses pointing a finger at everyone & everything else. Take one area and begin chipping away at it. Any of the above; self, work, a relationship, strangers, the world…
The more positive your outlook, the happier you are and happy is awesome.
Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.