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The Power of Focused Thoughts

The problem with “positive thinking” is that it doesn’t work — at least not for 90% of the people that try it.

Does that mean that it’s a flawed approach to attaining success and happiness? No, far from it! Focused and sustained positive thinking is the secret to inner peace, getting what you want out of life, and having the ability to surmount most problems.

The only way you can truly tap in to the immense power of your thoughts is to do it deliberately, methodically, and persistently.

Whenever you attempt anything haphazardly or halfheartedly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you every find yourself falling into that mental trap — and we’ve all been there — the solution is to STOP and REALIGN yourself into a more positive direction. Well-established habits can be very strong — whether they’re productive or self-defeating — but they can be changed, upgraded, or eliminated with focused attention, deliberate action, and mental resolve.

There are thoughts that work in your favor and thoughts that act as stumbling blocks. Regardless of the quality of your thoughts at any point in time, you have the ability to monitor them, dismiss them, and replace negative thoughts with ones that are more motivating, inspiring, and self affirming.

By recognizing that you have direct access to the “control panel” of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you’ll be in a stronger position to be the best version of yourself.

Since perfection is generally unattainable (and often unnecessary) simply aiming for the best you’re capable of doing at that particular point in time can produce progress without imposing too much pressure on you. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with operating under pressure, but some people have more of a tolerance for it than others.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Bottom line is this: Everyone has a different path in life and we all proceed at a different pace. When you develop a plan and take inspired action, however, your chances of achieving goals and enhancing your life are greatly improved — especially when you stay focused on your intended outcome and give yourself a reasonable chance to “make it to the finish line.”

Since so many people get discouraged and give up after one or two tries, a good saying to keep in mind is “Three times is the charm.” While there’s probably no mystical truths wrapped up in that age-old saying, you will be mathematically improving your chances of success in almost any endeavor if you attempt something one more time! That one extra effort can not only make all the difference, but it can change the course of your entire life.

It’s up to each individual to gather information, weigh the risks versus benefits, and prepare for whatever challenge they’re pursuing, but after all is said and done, sometimes you just have to take the plunge!

Thanks for checking out my new blog on self improvement, goal achievement, and positive thinking! Hope you decide to follow this blog for future posts on personal development strategies.

How to Cultivate a Positive Growth Mindset

One of the many challenges of being a human being (in this crazy, kooky world of ours) is that, although, we’re born with a tremendous amount of potential, we’re pretty much left to our own devices when it comes to figuring out how to discover and use that potential. Since it’s typically not taught in school or at home, we have to figure it out on our own.

Even though we’re not issued a written life-manual or assigned a personal mentor at an early age, the information and inspiration we need IS readily available in a variety of forms. We just have to have the awareness and receptivity to be able to identify and apply it. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are — and have been — inundated with positive messages and guidance throughout your life — even through advertisements, movies, TV shows, and popular songs.

Although I would not describe myself as a religious person, I do derive inspiration from a number of passages in the bible. For example, in the King James version of the Bible, I can relate to the following inspiring words:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Then, of course, there are passages in the bible and other sacred texts about the power of faith in moving mountains and producing miracles. As you’ll discover in the book Think and Grow Rich, faith is a vital ingredient in any formula for achieving success — and I’m not necessarily talking about financial or career success.

The definition of success is subjective, and could include finding love, overcoming physical or mental limitations, attaining peace of mind, becoming an expert in a subject you’re passionate about, being a published writer, creating a beautiful work of art, mastering a musical instrument, starting your own business, becoming fluent in a foreign language, or raising well-adjusted, productive children — preferably ones who kind, compassionate, and confident.

For more and more people, the gold standard of success is happiness. The great thing about achieving happiness is that it fuels and enhances creativity, productivity, initiative, kindness, confidence, generosity, patience, tolerance, and all the other qualities that help you to be the best version of yourself.

Focus on Positivity (and it will grow)

The challenge with staying positive is that we’re bombarded with a lot of negativity, which — for a lot of people — is “stickier” and carries more weight than positive messages. This tendency to pay more attention to negative possibilities, often referred to as a “negativity bias,” is one of the primary reasons happiness and success elude many people. We’ve all been impacted by our own negativity bias at one time or another, but unless we identify it for what it is and do something to consciously counteract it, then it will continue to impede our progress and suppress our potential.

There are various definitions of the word “mindset,” but here’s mine:

Mindset is your dominant attitude and belief system, based on personal values, goals, and intentions, that forms the foundation of your actions, reactions, and self esteem.

Adopting a “growth mindset” simply means that you’ve made a personal commitment to work towards continuous self improvement. An affirmation originated by the French psychologist Emile Coue more than 100 years ago captures the essence of what a growth mindset is.

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”

He wrote a book called, “Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion,” which is one of the most influential publications ever written on the subject of self improvement, mental health, and personal development.

If you’re interested in the concept of autosuggestion, I would also suggest reading the success classic, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill.

Since our external world tends to be a reflection of our inner reality, it makes sense to exert control over our thoughts and intentions, so that life does not unfold in a random, haphazard, disappointing, and sometimes disastrous way.

I invite you to stay tuned to this blog for additional tips and strategies for creating opportunities, enhancing optimism, boosting motivation, and setting the stage for other favorable conditions in your life.

Feel free to link to this blog and/or email the web address to family, friends, colleagues, and clients. (You’d be doing me a big favor, too!)

Best wishes!

–Joel

Source of photograph in this blog post: Anastasia Borisova from Pixabay

Simplifying Self Improvement

Adopting a “growth mindset” is the first step to improving your life and experiencing more happiness and success. Unfortunately, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to accomplishing any of this, so we’re all pretty much on our own, when it comes to navigating the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.

However… we can absolutely get inspiration, guidance, encouragement, and useful tips from a multitude of sources, including books, websites, seminars, motivational videos, blogs, life coaches, seminars, keynote speakers, therapists, mentors, and — on a case-by-case basis — social media. (BTW… I’m talking about motivational and inspiring social media posts, not celebrity gossip, negative news, frightening statistics, gloomy prognostications, or divisive, politically fueled misinformation.)

Question: Have you tried unsuccessfully to use positive thinking techniques or philosophies in the past ? If so, you’re not alone… far from it, as a matter of fact!

I think there are three primary reasons self improvement strategies generally don’t work:

  • A lack of personal commitment, on the part of the individual, to make meaningful changes in attitudes and behavior
  • Negativity bias: The tendency of people to focus on past failures, problems, and perceived obstacles, rather than solutions, opportunities, and possibilities
  • The force of habit: The natural tendency to live your life on “autopilot” instead of consciously being aware of your decisions and the intrinsic freedom we’re born with to choose actions, responses, reactions, attitudes, thoughts, and mindsets

The Three Step Process to Success

Step one: One of the most important decisions you can make is to take personal responsibility for your life. That’s easier said that done, but once you realize you can’t depend on other people and the outside world to create the life you want, then you’ve taken a quantum leap toward attaining a higher level of self empowerment.

Step two in your path to self realization is to adopt strategies and intentions for becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. That involves creating a written plan, perhaps in the form of a journal, and focusing every day on converting those plans to actions and more positive attitudes.

The third and final step to advancing forward in life is to follow through. That step is never ending, however, because it requires you to continually evaluate your progress, make adjustments along the wayd, and sometimes start (all over) again. Each time you do that, you’ll hopefully be doing so from a stronger and more resourceful vantage point.

That, in a nutshell, is my attempt to simplify the complicated process of self improvement. In previous blog posts, I have dissected positive thinking principles and taken a closer look at how to make attitudinal, mental, and spiritual shifts. I plan on doing more of that in the future, but today, I just wanted to get back to basics.

Once you establish a strong foundation, it’s much easier to build on that and create a satisfying life based on positive intentions, instead of passive hopes and dreams.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my latest “Thoughts that Work!”

I invite you to follow this blog (if you haven’t already) to receive notifications of future posts.

Until next time!

Make Positive Thinking a Habit

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A simple, but powerful concept is the fact that we are all creatures of habit — a truth that can be used both to your benefit and detriment.

As you focus on your personal development and growth potential, here are some ideas worth dwelling on:

Your thoughts are the cornerstones of positive change in your life. When you upgrade your thoughts, you set off a chain of events that impacts your behavior, attitudes, actions, and results. (Insight: One method of constructively changing your thoughts is through repetition. That can be done in the form of positive affirmations or mantras that you write, say, listen to, or think, or positive written messages you can view on post-its, index cards, calendars, appointment books, or collages.)

Positive Change Begins with Self-Knowledge

Know what you want and who you want to be. Continually move in the direction of being the best version of yourself you can be.

It’s necessary to define your goals and values in order to activate them. It’s like the old cliche about trying to travel to a destination without the benefit of a map, a GPS device, or a detailed set of directions. (Upshot: You’re not going to arrive at a desired location if you don’t know where you’re going!)

  • Believing in yourself is a top priority: If you don’t believe in yourself, then other people are going to follow suit. You need to demonstrate, through your own positive self image and the way you carry yourself, how you expect others to treat you.
  • Confidence is one of the key ingredients of charisma, so if you lack confidence, it will be more difficult to gain the support and admiration of other people. The irony, of course, is that when you stop concerning yourself with what other people think of you, that’s usually when they start liking, admiring, and being attracted to you.
  • Present moment awareness: Being aware of the present moment helps put things in perspective: When you focus on and try to enjoy the process of living your life — moment by moment — then the results you desire often unfold organically and spontaneously.
  • Personal development and change can not be forced. Self improvement often happens one small step at a time and requires patience, faith, and persistence.
  • Since everyone is on their own individual path in life, it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to other people. When you focus on and celebrate your own small victories, then you’ll reinforce your self-confidence and continue to venture outside your comfort zone.

Practical Tips for Self Improvement

I think the bottom line in self improvement is to give yourself frequent reminders of your goals, positive beliefs, values, and desired changes. Unless you continually challenge and prompt yourself, you’ll tend to fall into self-limiting patterns of past behavior, which, in many cases, involves self-imposed limitations, unfounded fears, misconceptions about yourself and others, and outdated beliefs.

Here are a few more specific ideas for reinforcing positivity and reducing negativity in your thinking:

  • Follow inspirational Instagram accounts that post inspiring, motivational messages and images. That’s one of several things I do to help keep my thoughts positive and constructive.
  • Practice gratitude. I know this is a suggestion everyone harps on, but there’s a good reason for it. Reminding yourself of things you’re grateful for helps you appreciate your own accomplishments and the many valuable gifts that have come into your life. That not only makes you feel better about yourself and your prospects for the future, but it also helps you attract more success, happiness, and opportunity. It creates a feeling of positive expectancy, which paves the way for creating and receiving more good things to be grateful for.

Blogging and/or writing in a journal are other ways to clarify, organize, and upgrade your thoughts. When you realize and fully appreciate the power of your thoughts, you’ll discover new and better ways to tap into that innate resource.

The Ripple Effect of Self Improvement

Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay 

I don’t know how many self-improvement jokes there are out there, but here’s one that is not only funny, but it’s also relevant. [My apologies if you’ve already heard it!]

QUESTION: How many psychologists does it take to unscrew a lightbulb?
ANSWER: Only one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.

As is the case with a lot of jokes, there is a grain of truth in the punchline.

Admittedly, change can be a difficult thing to accomplish, which is why the majority of New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside after a few weeks. Changing a behavior or a self-defeating thought pattern requires persistence, mental focus, and at least a little bit of faith. The faith is necessary because you’re trying to get yourself to believe in an outcome that hasn’t happened yet.

One of the best lines in the holiday movie “Miracle on 34th Street” speaks directly to that vital element:

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.

When you combine the feeling of faith with a strong desire to improve yourself or achieve a goal, then you’ve created the vehicle for getting just about anywhere you want to go in life. If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to achieve goals and improve your standard of living, one of the best books to read and then reread is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s one of the most enduring classics from the past four generations that is really worth studying.

Taking the Path of Self Improvement

While some people might think that the world should accept them exactly as they are, there’s a lot to be said for improving yourself and becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. Although there are probably dozens of definitions and interpretations of the words “self improvement,” it all boils down to developing your potential in every important area of your life — from your annual income to the quality of your relationships. While not everyone needs to “Think and Grow Rich” to be happy and fulfilled, wealth does not necessarily have to be measured in dollars and sense. If your basic needs are met and you have a positive attitude about your ability to attract the people and conditions you desire, then you’re probably already on a trajectory to success.

A powerful way to advance in the direction of your desired lifestyle is to challenge yourself to devote the next 12 months to achieving your most important personal goals. You’re not necessarily going to get it all done in that period of time, but you’ll experience significant progress by focusing on what you want and taking consistent, deliberate action toward the attainment of those goals.

Good luck… and get started NOW!

Self Esteem: The Bedrock of Happiness

Image by 🎄Merry Christmas 🎄 from Pixabay 

I think at some level, everyone recognizes the importance of self esteem in their attitude toward life, but dismisses it as a form of self centeredness. This may very well be the number one barrier to being a fully actualized, joyful, fulfilled human being.

I’m not saying it’s a good idea to be conceited, arrogant, or self absorbed; those are all bad, potentially toxic characteristics. I’m just saying that the world would be a better place if more people felt good about themselves and could redirect their attention toward their own intrinsic value and capacity for growth.

A skeptic might ask the question, “What’s wrong with the way I am? Why do I need to change?” One response could be, “If we don’t grow and evolve as human beings, then we’re stagnating.” Although happiness can be an elusive thing, it can be a byproduct of pursuing one’s passions, helping others, learning new things, practicing gratitude, and letting go of self-defeating beliefs and habits.

Here’s a question to ponder: As we enter a new year and a new era (post-COVID19), what can we do, as individuals, to improve our world, both internally and externally? Well, since your outer world tends to be a reflection of your thought patterns, habits, and level of self esteem, focusing on personal development for the next 12 months could be the most life-changing thing you could do.

What exactly does “personal development” mean? The specifics of a personal development program would need to be tailored to each individual to truly be meaningful and productive, but here are a few tips and ideas that can be used as a launching pad.

Personal Development Tips

  • Develop a personal development plan. If you don’t set intentions and goals for your life, then your progress toward personal growth will probably be haphazard and lackluster, at best. Improving your mind, your health, your relationships, and your appreciation for what you already have (AKA: “GRATITUTE”) are the cornerstones of a more fulfilling life.
  • Change your thoughts; change your life. Although you’ve probably heard that expression countless times, do you take it seriously? If you are serious about improving your health, your relationships, your lifestyle, and your inner peace, then you may need to focus on your thoughts — both their quality and content — several times a day. For some people, it’s helpful to imagine having an alert security guard at the entrance to their minds — one who only allows positive thoughts, intentions, and beliefs to enter. Granted, it takes a lot of focus and vigilance to monitor and regulate your own thoughts, but if you get in the habit of doing it, then it becomes second nature.
  • Make positive thinking, self improvement, and spirituality part of your daily routine. When I refer to “spirituality,” by the way, I’m mostly talking about practicing gratitude, present-moment awareness, and training your mind to notice and appreciate the many blessings of life that may be escaping your notice. Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of allowing yourself to be undermined by negative habits and self-defeating behaviors, just remember one of the most powerful truths to emerge from the human potential movement. It’s simple, to the point, and a bit blunt: “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!” (A Course in Miracles)
  • Immerse yourself in positivity. There are dozens of powerful ways to expose yourself to positive thoughts, ideas, and life-enhancing strategies. If you’re an Instagram user, for example, consider subscribing to a dozen or more accounts that focus on gratitude, self improvement, personal growth, achieving success, and topics of that nature. That way, in between viewing pictures of cute puppies, exotic travel locations, news updates, appetizing food, and celebrities, you’ll also be inundated with inspiring and motivational quotes, life strategies, and ideas that can help you stay focused on your quest for fulfillment, happiness, and success — however YOU define “success.” There are also a gazillion good books, blogs, videos, podcasts, seminars, and email newsletters you can subscribe to for a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and helpful ideas.

Stay tuned to this blog (“Thoughts that Work”) for more self improvement tips, inspiration, and strategies for personal growth.

Is Positive Thinking a Waste of Time?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

I would describe myself as a “self improvement junkie,” which can be viewed in both a positive and negative light. On one hand, it’s beneficial to expose yourself to as much positive, constructive ideas as possible. Since we are all susceptible to the power of suggestion, it logically follows that we are going to be influenced by the information, points of view, and philosophies that filter through our minds, every day.

With the year 2021 just around the corner (thank God!), I’m tempted to compare the practice of positive thinking to the annual ritual of creating New Year’s resolutions. As you probably know or suspect, most people FAIL at maintaining their new year’s resolutions for more than a couple months. I believe that there’s a correlation between the value of positive thinking and the widespread failure of New Year’s resolutions.

In my opinion, here are the factors which separate those who succeed from those who fail. And by the way, when I use the term “positive thinking,” I’m referring to a variety of practices and mindsets — everything from repeating positive affirmations to writing down and reviewing your goals on a regular basis.

Creating a Proactive Mindset

Commitment: Just paying lip service to the importance of believing in yourself and pursuing your goals is not going to get you too far. You need to be willing to take action on a daily basis and continually go outside of your comfort zone. Unless you make up your mind to persistently pursue realistic goals that are meaningful to you, your progress will be sporadic and unremarkable.

Focus: There’s a saying in the self-improvement/spirituality world that says, “Energy flows where attention goes.” Although there are several ways to interpret that, the one thing most people would agree on is that if you identify what you want and create an action plan to get it, you will most likely move in that direction and get closer to your desired lifestyle and the greater level of happiness you’re seeking.

As I see it, the attainment of happiness and success (however you define those ideals), boils down to aligning yourself with the concept of probability. While nothing is guaranteed in this world of ours, you can significantly increase your chances of being healthier, happier, and more prosperous by creating a plan, revising it as needed, and making a commitment to yourself to actively pursue your goals on an continual basis.

Your goals and personal values will evolve as time goes on, but if you resolve to develop your potential, identify opportunities, be kind to yourself and others, and make the most of your life, then that simple, but powerful mindset will propel you forward and get you closer to where you want to be.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the quality of your life is directly affected by the quality of your thoughts. The good news is that by cultivating optimism, deflecting your negative thoughts, and a taking a proactive approach to life, you can control both.

Strategies for Self Motivation

Image by Maciej Cieslak from Pixabay 

One of the biggest barriers to achievement, happiness, and goal attainment is a lack of mental focus. People who don’t instill a degree of self-discipline in their lives, eventually become distracted, discouraged, and demotivated.

I’m not one of those people who believe that the path to success involves working 80 hours a week, continually burning your candle at both ends, and sacrificing your health, relationships, and peace of mind for financial and material success. You don’t have to “sell your soul” in order to have a beautiful home, fulfilling relationships, a satisfying career or business, a healthy lifestyle, and enough financial resources to meet your needs.

The Starting Point is Creating Balance

The concept of work/life balance has been increasingly talked about and emphasized in recent years. More and more businesses have been recognizing the need to encourage employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and leisure. When any one aspect of your life becomes too dominant, the other facets invariably suffer — and when that happens, one’s balance is thrown out of whack.

Maintaining balance in life involves these elements:

Awareness: Making mental notes of changes in your environment, your attitude, and habits can be the first step to developing an action plan and upgrading the direction and quality of your life.

Making adjustments: Rather than just being a passive observer of your external world, consider taking specific actions to resolve problems. improve conditions, and restore feelings of contentment.

Action orientation: Setting positive intentions, writing down your goals, working on improving your self esteem, and focusing on your personal values (what’s important to you), are four ways to create a mental climate that lends itself to being proactive and action oriented.

Since most people have what is known as a “negativity bias,” success and happiness demand that we be proactive in regulating our own thoughts, developing assertiveness, practicing self discipline, and cultivating habits that support our goals and desired lifestyle.

How to Think Positive

Image by NRThaele from Pixabay

There are two concepts that I learned from Dr. Wayne Dyer, which help me create a positive mental attitude every time I think of them. If I had to pick just two life-changing ideas to pass along to anyone on a self-discovery journey, I’d choose these two quotes:

“You don’t get what you want, you get what you ARE!”

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!”

In other words, your thoughts, your values, your attitudes, and your intentions have a direct bearing on your happiness, your level of success (as YOU define it), and the people and circumstances you attract.

I believe if you pick a just a handful of meaningful philosophies to guide your life, and then reflect on those philosophies every day, you can be more effective at achieving your goals and overcoming obstacles.

How to Develop Your Potential and Grow as a Person

One of the most powerful thoughts to dwell on as you seek greater meaning, happiness, and success in life begins with a question that was famously posed by televangelist Robert H. Schuller.

“What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? ”

Thinking about that question, and imagining for a few seconds (or longer) how it would FEEL to be a action-oriented, self-motivated, confident winner helps put you in the positive frame of mind — one that will help you express the best version of yourself.

Another powerful thought that just occurred to me is from A Course in Miracles, and addresses one of the cornerstones of leading a productive and satisfying life. It’s simple, blunt, and true:

“An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!”

Like a muscle, if you don’t exercise and develop your mind — and push it beyond its comfort zone — it (and you) will fall short of its potential.

Thanks for joining me today in my exploration of human potential, personal development, and the pursuit of happiness.

I invite you to follow this blog, “Thoughts that Work,” for more motivational ideas and inspirational content!

–Joel

Mental Focus is the Ultimate Goal

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

No matter what you want in life, here are four steps that comprise the formula for achieving your goals:

  • Establish goals. That usually requires reflecting on what you personally need to be happier, healthier, energized, and more fulfilled.
  • Clarify your goals. Writing down your goals, your personal values, and your priorities in a journal can be an effective technique for defining your path in life and beginning the process of realizing your potential.
  • Reinforce positive intentions: Provide yourself with reminders, ever day, about personal qualities you want to develop and actions you’re going to take to produce specific results.
  • Take action: Identify one or more specific actions you can take, every day, to bring you closer to your goals. Then follow through.

Develop Success Habits that Propel You Forward

We are creatures of habit. That’s the way our brain works, so if you want to change a habit or a particular condition in your life, you have to be ready and willing to go outside your comfort zone. Whether you believe it takes 21 days or one week to create a new habit, it’s going to feel a little uncomfortable at first. Your willingness to take action and work through that discomfort depends entirely on your motivation, your determination to change or improve your life, and your self esteem. Your self esteem comes into play because, before making positive changes in your life, you need to believe that you’re worthy and deserving of happiness, prosperity, vibrant health, and inner peace. Learning to be your own best friend, number one advocate, and most ardent admirer might be the perfect starting point for attracting more success, love, and happiness.

The Importance of Adopting a Positive Mindset

The paradox of life is that happiness often attracts money, love, and opportunity, but money and success don’t necessarily produce happiness. So the traditional concept about clawing your way up the ladder of success and postponing happiness for some future date or event may need to be “tweaked” a little bit!

But what is a positive mindset and how does it help propel you forward toward your desired lifestyle and level of success? Well, a positive mindset can be viewed as the “foundation” on which you build the groundwork for the achievement of your goals. By getting in the habit of believing in yourself and reinforcing the belief that all things are possible, you’re clearing a path for moving forward and advancing toward your goals.

So stop reading this blog post, write down three realistic goals you can achieve within the next 30 days, and take immediate action toward the attainment of those goals.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Takeaways:

  • Don’t overthink it! Just get started!
  • Only you can make it happen!
  • “Luck” is something you have to create, not wait for!

Don’t forget to follow this blog to get updates on the latest posts, motivational tips, and strategies for realizing your highest personal potential!

–Joel
Founder of “Thoughts that Work”

FEEDBACK?

Positive Thoughts for the Day

Since ancient times, philosophers, soothsayers, and shamans have been telling us that the thoughts we cultivate and focus on can have a profound effect on the quality and circumstances of our lives. The vast majority of books, recordings, and seminars on positive thinking or personal development emphasize this principle. Many of the major religions also emphasize the power of faith, free will, gratitude, and belief.

Why, then, are so many people plagued by negativity — both in their thoughts and the conditions of their lives?

I only know what I personally experience, read about, reflect on, and observe in others… which actually encompasses quite a bit of information!

Can Positive Thinking Change Your Life? (Spoiler Alert: “Absolutely!”)

The concept of positive thinking is well rooted in spiritual traditions, ancient and contemporary philosophy, physiology, neurology, and just plain common sense. Why, then, do so many of us dismiss and discount the immense power residing within our own brains and spirit?

The answer is simple and can be explained by one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

–ALBERT EINSTEIN

So what that means, in terms of self determination, is that people tend to be captivated, controlled, and directed by what they see, rather than what they would like to see. The old cliche of “what you see is what you get” is the guiding principle in the minds of most people. The ‘only’ problem with that mindset is that it’s severely limiting and is invariably going to bring you more of what you already have. Sometimes that’s good, other times, not so much! If you’re looking for changes or improvement in the circumstances of your life, then focusing on your external world is not going to help attract things you want. Change always comes from within!

As the ancient Law of Attraction teaches us, what we focus on and repeatedly think about expands, gets reinforced, and translates itself into external conditions — either new conditions or more of the same. By making a conscious effort to program your mind, amplify positive thoughts, and extinguish negative, self-defeating thoughts, you can create new and better circumstances and propel your life in a much more positive direction.

Everyone is the product of their experiences, their environment, and their genetic predisposition. There’s no question that human psychology can be a tangled web — one that can take a lifetime to unravel — sometimes requiring the help of a spiritual guide or mental health professional(s).

There’s no “quick fix” or guaranteed panacea which will transform your life. Upgrading the quality and quantity of your positive thought is the first, second, and third steps to achieving a greater measure of happiness and success. Clarifying your goals, learning to belief in yourself, and cultivating positive thoughts is the starting point to bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be a year from now.

I will end this blog post with a hackneyed old joke, which never ceases to amuse me:

Question: “How many psychotherapists does it take to change a light bulb?”

Answer: “Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change!”

I don’t know how well that joke is going to translate into other languages (besides English), but my point is that change and personal development requires a high level of commitment, persistence, and internal fortitude. Without it, the influences of negativity in the world and in your own mind will always prevail.

Thanks for reading my latest blog post on personal development and human potential. I invite you to follow this blog (“Thoughts That Work”) to receive email updates on future posts and upcoming topics.

Have a great day!

–Joel