Henry Ford famously said "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you are right".
This quote could well have been the secret to Henry's success in life. He knew the power of a positive mindset.
I'd like you to notice that I am using the phrase "positive mind set", as opposed to "positive thinking". They sound similar, and yet when applied, the outcome is completely different.
Positive thinking conjures up thoughts of wishing, wanting, and hoping. It has been popularized in recent years as quick fix to all of life's problems; think about what you desire, and it shall be yours. But just trying to think positively will not bring about real or lasting change. In fact, just thinking about what you'd like to happen will inevitably lead to disappointment.
A positive mindset, on the other hand, comes from a much different place. It comes from a deep knowing within you. It comes from understanding and insight. Once you have this knowing, your world changes. Your eyes have been opened.
A positive mindset is far more steadfast than a flimsy positive thought, trying desperately to cover an open wound.
So how do we cultivate a positive mindset? It begins with awareness. It's not likely that anything in your life will change without you first being aware of it. We also call this awareness, mindfulness, and mindfulness is in essence, meditation.
To practice meditating, try observing your thoughts as if they were not your own. Notice any negative thoughts or stories that you tell yourself, and challenge them. Why do you think those thoughts? Are they substantiated? Are they true? Do they come from a place of fear? Whether you are sitting in traffic, or in a yoga studio, every thought that you direct consciousness to, is a chance to practice mindfulness.
It's important to understand that our thoughts are not who we are. Although there are many things that can influence our thoughts, if we stay mindful and aware, we always have the power to make better, more deliberate decisions.
Gratitude is another great way to cultivate a positive mindset. Too often we are so caught up in trivial matters, and worries, that we forget to appreciate all the wonderful things that are right in front of us. We focus on our lack of this or that, when usually we already have everything we need right at that moment. Begin with gratitude and achieving a positive mindset will already be accomplished.
The third thing I would suggest to cultivate a positive mindset would be taking action. Many of the thoughts we accept as truth are based in fear. "I can't", "What if I fail", "Everyone will judge me". Once you've challenged those thoughts (and noticed that there is little truth in them), take action to prove them wrong. We learn much faster from our successes than from our failures, and even the smallest win can have a tremendous affect on the way we view future situations. Don't sit around waiting for someone to give you self confidence, build it for yourself.
And lastly, choose to be authentic, kind, and honest, every day. You always have a choice!