Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking positive makes things better

Positive thinking or positive reinforcements can really turn around not only your attitude, but also your reality. Recent research suggests that having a positive outlook improves resiliency, improves your health, and makes you happier. It can be easy to get caught in a spiral of negativity when things aren’t going your way, but consider how you can turn that around.

After starting a new job, I was crunched for time. I just moved to a new city and outside of moving my home, I also needed to make a trip to the department of motor vehicles (DMV). I procrastinated going to the DMV as long as I possibly could. Almost every trip I had ever made to a DMV in any state ended in frustration. I had a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I was negative. In order to motivate myself to make the trip to the DMV, I started working on some positive reinforcements. I told myself over and over again that I would have a successful and productive trip to the DMV.

With my renewed positive energy, I printed off all of my papers, pulled together every piece of identification I had, and double checked the website one last time to make sure I had everything together. I arrived at the DMV first thing in the morning before they were open to a line of about one hundred people. Not bad. This line will go quickly once we get inside. When I got up to the counter, the woman told me I needed additional paperwork that I didn’t have (in her most off-putting tone she told me I not only needed the letter for proof of address, but also the envelope it came in). I stayed positive and asked a couple of questions. The woman across the counter came up with a good idea of how I could still do what I came to do. With her suggestion, I moved to the next counter. At the next counter, woman #2 told me she could not find my information in the system. I knew it was there. I asked her to check again. She checked again and repeated that it wasn’t in the system. My stomach started to sink into that place of negativity. I shook it off and kept with my promise of positivity. I calmly explained that there must be some confusion as I was told the DMV had my information. She checked one more time and found my file… someone had added a zero to my VIN number by accident.

While I had almost been pushed over to negative feelings, I was able to stay positive and walk out of the DMV with everything I needed. I only got what I needed because I was able to stay positive. If your inclination is to assume the worst out of a situation, the outcome will usually follow. If I had let negativity take over, I would have walked out with nothing to show for my trouble.

How can this example relate to a work situation? How can you stay positive and prescribe the outcome you want? Where do you find your negative feelings surface? How can you turn something negative into a positive? How can being positive influence your life?

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