We hear a lot about positive thinking these days. We hear of creating positive circumstances by thinking positive thoughts.
All of that is well and good, but it is too easy to lose sight of the number one rule of positive thinking: we ultimately have control of our own minds.
There is a constant battle going on between the positive and negative. Regardless of how that battle is framed, it is a battle that occurs primarily in the mind.
What a person thinks is eventually reflected in the words that person speaks and the actions he or she engages in. Everything begins in that space between the ears.
Barring mental health issues requiring professional treatment, you ultimately have control of your mind. You get to determine what you feed it. You have control over what influences your thoughts. You even have the final say in how the thoughts you think evolve over time.
No one else can control your mind unless you voluntarily surrender that control.
Be Careful to Whom You Listen
One of the chief influences on our minds is the people to whom we listen. What other people say affects how we think. There is no avoiding it. As social creatures, being influenced by others is just part of our nature.
The Christian Bible – whether you consider it a holy book, a historical writing, or a complete piece of fiction – tells the curious story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. As the story goes, a serpent convinced Eve to eat the fruit by reasoning with her.
He presented her with thoughts and ideas that she could either accept or reject. What she did with the information was up to her. No one forced her to eat the forbidden fruit against her will.
Likewise, no one forced Adam to follow suit. Both were responsible for their actions, and both of them based their actions on ideas presented by the serpent.
What is the lesson here? Be careful to whom you listen. If you spend a lot of time listening to negative people, your thoughts are likely to turn negative.
Likewise, you will be more likely to focus on positive thoughts if you give your attention to positive people.
Be Careful of Social Media
An extension of the people we listen to are other social media channels we utilize. Unfortunately, social media tends to promote more negative than positive.
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There is so much on social media that unnecessarily consumes time and causes thoughts to wander in directions that are frivolous at best, and harmful at worst.
First-generation social media outlets were pretty basic and organized. Building a platform was a lot like clearing land, putting down asphalt, and using car park line paint to create tidy spaces that users could fit themselves into.
It is not that way anymore. Today’s social media is a free-for-all. There are no neatly defined spaces, and the cars travel in every direction.
The problem with social media is that it impairs positive thinking by filling your mind with way too many distractions. Moreover, many of those distractions are purposely sensationalized. This is how people get likes, follows, and reposts. They take one little idea and blow it out of proportion.
A person who has mastered the power of positive thinking has also mastered the informational traffic circulating throughout their brain. They maintain control over that traffic by being very careful about distractions like social media.
This is not to say you should abandon social media altogether. Rather, it is simply to say that you should not allow social media to dominate your thinking.
Choose Your Authorities Wisely
Good thinkers understand that learning never ends. We are all students for life, whether we know it or not. In order to maintain a mindset of positive thinking, we have to be cognisant of what we learn and who we are learning it from. So choose your authorities wisely.
There are lots of people in the world who consider themselves experts on a given topic. Among them are those few who think they know everything about everything. Do not let such people be your authorities. Why? Because people will let you down. That is another inescapable part of the human experience.
If you implicitly trust people who claim to know it all, your thinking will be negatively impacted when they inevitably let you down.
On the other hand, you are less likely to be let down by people who are transparent and honest about their own humanity. Their authority is buttressed by their humility. The combination doesn’t allow them to place themselves in a position of superiority.
The right authorities will teach you more than just facts and figures. They will pass on more than just information. The right authorities will act as examples for you to follow. They will open the doors for you to think and act positively throughout your entire life. Your task will be to walk through those doors.
Learn the Art of Self-Encouragement
One final note to consider is the art of self-encouragement.
Note that none of the previous suggestions mentioned in this post will prevent all negativity from flowing your way. Nothing can. The key to dealing with the negative thoughts that do slip through is overcoming them quickly. How do you do that? By encouraging yourself.
Maybe your boss at work is having a bad day. He says that you are a lousy worker, and you will never amount to anything.
There is nothing you could have done to stop him from making that comment. But you can prevent it from taking root in your brain.
You do it by reminding yourself that you do have value. You remind yourself that you do contribute to the company by the work you do.
Also, you encourage yourself with the knowledge that you consistently do the best job you can; that you are earning a living, supporting your family, and paying your bills.
By steering your mind toward the positive, you are encouraging yourself to look beyond the negative of the boss’s words and toward the positive of your own potential. If you can learn the art of self-encouragement, you will not have to rely so much on others to reinforce positive thinking.
Remember, control of your mind rests with you. Maintaining that control and steering your mind in the right direction are the two most important elements in positive thinking.