Think About Your Thinking

“Ohhhhh myyyyy gosshhhh. I don’t want to be here.” said at least once a day by someone in my office.

When I started my first full-time corporate job a few months ago, one of the first things I noticed was my coworkers’ negative attitudes and strong personalities. They complained about everything.

“The water tastes gross.”

“The coffee is disgusting.”

“My chair is uncomfortable.”

“I hate company meetings. They’re soooooo boring.”

One complaint after another, they were feeding off each other’s dislikes. It was draining and all of the sudden I started to do it too!

My tone started to change. My words laced with sarcasm. My facial expressions grew more tense. What was happening? I was drowning in a pool of negativity, and I was not having it.

I confided in Jackson about this for months and he continuously fed me encouragement—prompting me to think about the things I have, the people I love, and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with. He would tell me not to focus on what I hear my coworkers say, but on how I react to their words and perceive their opinions so they don’t corrupt my own.

It’s helped a ton, but there are still days I find myself slipping down the negative slide—trying to connect with the people I spend my nine-to-five with by mirroring their conversational tendencies.

But each day presents a new opportunity for victory and last week I had one. At lunch, my colleagues were dreading the 1 pm company meeting. On and on they went about how boring it would be and what excuse they could make to get out of it. I paused. I told myself, if I go into that meeting expecting it to be boring, it will be boring. But, if I go into that meeting with an opportunity-to-learn-something-new attitude, it just might be worth my time—and it was. I stayed engaged with the people who spoke, actively listening and learning from what they had to say. It ended up being an incredible opportunity to connect with high-level leaders in the company and build my relationships with them. When I looked over at my coworkers after the meeting ended, their eyes were still rolling and tongues had plenty more to complain about.

It’s crazy how your perspective on something can make all the difference. Both myself and my coworkers went to the same meeting, but we had polar opposite reactions to it—all because of our attitudes.

What I’ve learned and continuously challenge myself to do is to be grateful. Here are three small actions that have helped me stay positive:

1. Listen to a motivating podcast

Jackson introduced me to Justin Su’a’s podcast Increase Your Impact. Each episode is about 5 minutes long and filled with leadership insights to better yourself. It’s a great way to shape your perspective on a daily basis.

“Being positive isn’t about ignoring the brutal facts, it’s about being able to stare them in the face and know you can succeed anyway.” ― Justin Su’a

2. Read a book about gratitude or the power of positive thinking

I recently read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. In this book, Ann talks about finding joy in the midst of debt, drama, and daily tasks. She began writing down anything and everything she could give thanks for in her everyday life and it completely changed her outlook.

“…life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

3. Pray

One of my favorite Bible verses is James 1:2-5.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:2-5

I love this verse because it’s such a great reminder that God is always there, even in the toughest of times. Personally, when I stop to thank God for a difficult situation in my life, I realize how that situation is drawing me closer to Him.  And when that happens, my trust in God grows and I’m able to focus on the silver lining of what I have, instead of what I don’t.

I have down days just like everyone else, but when I take the time to let positive words pour over me, think about my thinking, and pause to give thanks, I’m taking one more step into living a happier and more fulfilling life.

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