Tag Archives: Power of Positive Thinking

Sometimes “bad” news turns out to be “great” news in disguise

24 Mar

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had some difficulties over the last few weeks. One of those difficulties was learning that the company which I had enrolled with to do my personal training studies was starting to mess me about in a serious way. So much so that I found that they had given away my place to someone else due to a really bogus clerical error, and then claimed that I should not be upset, that I was only one of thousands through their doors, and that if I wanted to study in their full-time course that I would simply have to wait until the next classes were due to start around the end of April or by early May. I guess it’s fairly safe to say that I have been very upset about this, particularly because I have been like a little kid counting the “sleeps” before Santa comes down the chimney, only in my case I’ve been waiting for 3 months for my course to start.

Added to this has been the stress of having the bank send me a letter warning of the imminent foreclosure of my home loan if I don’t manage to find some serious cash by April 10th, and negotiating with a government department to try and release a portion of my superannuation (aka government regulated retirement savings) to help me to buy me the time I need to gain some new skills, improve my employment prospects, and to hold the bank off for the next 6 months while I get my unemployed shit together. The trouble of course is that I really am limited in how much I might be able to access, and in how far that money will go before I find myself neck deep in arrears again, so delays to my education aren’t just troublesome, but can also become very costly if it ends up losing me my house!

So I’ve been waiting so long to finally start my course, and for those who know me the excitement I feel at being a qualified PT and getting to really help others to make a difference in their lives is something I really can’t put into words, except to say that I really feel as if it is my “calling” if you like to think in those terms, and something that I feel so strongly about that I really can’t see myself every being happy doing anything else.

Yeah, I’m 43 years old and talking about this sort of stuff like a 17 year old kid who thinks his life will be over if he can’t follow the job he has dreamed about since he was 5! Perhaps I should be old enough to know a little better, or perhaps I recognise that while my life wouldn’t technically be “over” as such, I’ve been around a while, had 2 professional and one non-professional careers, and I’d like to think that I’ve learned what it is that will bring me happiness, vocationally speaking.

So to be told to effectively suck it and put up with a lot of unprofessionally poor customer service from an organisation that represents and industry where customer service is really the number one most important aspect of everything it does, well you could say that it left me feeling a little disillusioned, and a lot pissed off at the staff members responsible for giving me the run-around. I had one individual being very rude with me, who I suspect messed up the paperwork in the first place and who could not be bothered following up on a problem. I had another guy not returning any of my calls, and a couple of receptionist types who seemed so clueless that their only thought was that I should speak only to one of these two guys who were giving me so much grief.

So it ended up being a really crappy thing instead of the wonderful opportunity I had been looking forward to, and this before I had even been able to sit in a class and learn a single thing!! So I did what anyone would do when a company treats them like shit. I cancelled my enrolment, I will be pursuing the fees that they charged me which they can’t get out of refunding because it was entirely their fault that they did not manage to supply the service to which they were contracted, and I took my business elsewhere, which turns out to be a real blessing in disguise.

I found a company called Wyn Training, which is based in a gym not too far from where I worked in my last job. Not only were they able to get me into a full time course starting on April 2nd, they were also willing to work out a payment plan that I can afford even though I have almost no income at present – and which I am sure from a business perspective must be an inconvenience to them. Even better, the course itself only takes 9 weeks to complete, doesn’t require a probationary 20 hours post graduation with another personal trainer, it won’t mess up my weekends with my kids, and in as little as 10 weeks from now – if I have studied hard and if I don’t completely screw up my exams – I will be a fully qualified PT, ready to be unleashed on the world to train the lard on and off of the arses of all of my many future victims happy clients to my merry little heart’s content!!

So all of this stressful stuff that I went through with the other (muddy-named) provider has turned out to be what I really needed. Not only will I get to do a really great course with a reputable training company, I will also be able to complete my course in about a third of the time it would have taken me with that other mob. This means that by mid-year, I have a real shot at being either gainfully employed with a great PT company, or founding one of my own… and possibly even satisfying both options!! And even better, I will be doing something that I am really enthusiastic about, looking forward to doing, and working in a healthy, and active environment.

So to those of you who find yourselves at a crossroads in life, where you think that things are seriously going south and you think that “everyone” is on your case and getting you down, my suggestion to you is to find the strength within you to endure, to persevere, and to look for those little golden moments of opportunity so that you will find yourself emotionally available to take advantage of them when they appear. You can never really guess how things will turn out until they happen, and I truly believe that you can always find that positive silver lining somewhere at the end of those negative clouds that life sees you walking amongst.

Be strong, find your focus, set your goals, take a risk to chase your dreams, and you may just find that if you take advantage of the opportunities that arise, you might just manage to achieve everything you set out to do.

Just between me and you… I really hope that you do! ūüôā

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An easy way to change how you think

5 Mar

Reblogged from www.the1bigthing.com:

An easy way to change how you think

I’m seriously proud of my family members, and in particular those that take the big risks and do everything they can to really make the most of their lives and those who try to enrich the lives of others while at the same time enriching their own. My cousin Karen for example is a good example of what I’m talking about here, as she and her partner Paul are on their life journey together, making their living far from the maddening crowd and at the same time working on a campaign to bring people together to make a real difference in the world through their¬†Global Help Swap¬†program.

Karen¬†posted an article¬†on her blog today that gets to the heart of a matter that I’ve¬†written about before, about how our thoughts that define how we feel and how we react to the events which impact on our daily lives. Now it’s easy for me to say that you need to use a positive mind set in order to effect a positive outcome in your own life, but Karen takes this concept further and poses some very poignant questions that I think we should automatically be asking ourselves every time something happens in our lives in order to ensure we are giving ourselves the positive reinforcement needed to encourage that ever so important positive mind set. From all of this positivity will ultimately spring our happiness, so it really should be a priority to ask ourselves these questions which Karen suggests we ask ourselves.

I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to turn your life around and bring about positive changes in yourself in terms of your habits and mind set, and I particularly like how Karen suggests asking questions which reflect on the impact of your perceptions on other aspects of your life. This is why I think that¬†Karen’s article is a very good place to begin when you are on your personal development, fitness, & weight loss journeys, and in particular when you are feeling that the events in your life might risk challenging your perceptions of the positive aspects of any situation that you might encounter.

What is the REAL power of positive thinking?

12 Feb

No, I’m not simply quoting the title of that very famous book published about two decades ago. I’m talking about the actual concept of positive thinking itself. What it is to be thinking positively, what it is that makes positive thought so hard, and why it can be so hard to achieve… or even to believe in. Understanding positive thinking is particularly close to my own heart, as it is by learning more about the connection between emotion and thought that I myself was able to come to terms with my own journey out of mental illness, and so it is something that I hope will help others if I talk about it. I hope that by sharing this it will not only help those who themselves are dealing with depression, but will also help those of you who are struggling through other journey’s in your lives where positive thinking might just be a key to unlocking the potential you have within you to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.

I’m sure that many of you will have rolled your eyes on more than one occasion when someone told you to simply be positive, or how you may have thought to yourself that you’d find it easier to be more “positive” if there wasn’t so much “bad stuff” happening around you. It can seem so easy for others to offer these well intentioned “platitudes” when they don’t really understand what is going on in our own lives. These thoughts are unfortunately negative, “wrong” in the sense that they are reinforcing negativity, and even more unfortunately they are the excuses that we use to delude ourselves that it is “OK” to be negative. The thing is, that negativity is easy. You don’t have to work at it, you simply cease to participate in anything that requires an effort and you will find yourself in the trap that is negativity, and when you’ve lived that way for long enough you begin to feel comfortable with it, more accepting of it until it becomes so ingrained that you can’t imagine anything else is safe, or even possible for you, and you make excuses to avoid facing the reality of negativity such that you shut yourself off from anything positive.

Now I’m not saying that you should never have negative thoughts. Quite the contrary, I believe it is definitely OK to have feelings that are negative from time to time. It’s when negativity becomes routine, and when thoughts always stray to and stay with the negative that it becomes a problem. When excuses become easy to make to justify negativity the problem becomes a serious one in terms of your mental well being and your overall health. For many years, I personally was someone who found dozens of excuses for having negative feelings, and for dwelling on the negativity so much that it became a kind of priority in my life. Yes, that’s right. Negativity can become a priority, and this is when you are at your worst and when your health and general well being suffers the most. The can do attitude gets lost behind an I can’t¬†fa√ßade¬†that leads you to give up on anything that seems “difficult” and to explain it away with only the negativity that you shroud yourself in, as if it more important to you than anything else.

I was – in short – a consummate unbeliever in the power of positive thinking as a real phenomenon that I could tap into as a resource for positive change in my life. I permitted myself to live in this way and I chose to focus on negativity rather than positivity. The net impact of all of this was that I basically became lazy with regards to my health and well being, and the negativity impacted on every other area of my life, from family, to work, to my social life, and to my ability to maintain my fitness and my health. I became fat, chronically dehydrated, I ate heavily processed fast preparation foods without any thought about how they would affect me, and the impact on my health led to feeling more depressed, which led to less exercise and poorer diet in a never ending spiralling negative cycle.

The epiphany for me came on the day that I booked myself in to see a psychologist, who sat me down and explained how all of the psychology research led to a conclusion that we live the experience dictated by our thoughts. It wasn’t my negative situation that led to my negative emotion, and it wasn’t negative emotion that led to negative thoughts. It was completely the opposite. I learned that it was thought that dictated emotion, but that this connection was very difficult to see, and the cause-effect relationship between thought and emotion was so quick and so subtle that it appeared to be completely the opposite to what I would have otherwise believed. Naturally I didn’t really believe this at first, so I was taught to meditate so that I could recognise when thoughts were crowding my head, and so that I could learn to let thoughts go and allow them to bubble up into my consciousness slowly, rather than all at once. In learning to meditate, I also learned how to recognise when the thoughts were predominantly negative, so that I could let the negative thoughts go, and with them any associated negative feelings.

The meditation itself was merely a tool, and one which I still use from time to time. What was really liberating for me is that I was able to use this tool and others that the psychologist taught me to differentiate between when my thoughts were positive or negative, and to identify how I was feeling as I had those thoughts. The real breakthrough however came on a day when I was feeling quite positive about something, and then I found my head in a negative space and feeling suddenly sad. It was so incredible to witness myself in a transition from thought to thought, and in seeing how the thoughts themselves actually led to the transition in emotions, and it made me realise that this psychologist I was attending was absolutely correct in everything he had been trying to get through my thick skull. I don’t know why these guys get called “shrinks”, because I found instead that my head was being grown, not shrunk, simply by teaching me to expand my own awareness of the thoughts and emotions that I was having at different times in the day.

OK, so this is a lovely little story, but where does this show the real power of positive thinking? Well, like everything that we experience in the world, there is a balance to contend with. What goes up comes down, action results in reaction, and so too where there is negativity, there is positivity. So if negative thinking leads to negative life situations, surely positive thinking leads to more positive life situations. Certainly this is how I have found things to be. By choosing to be positive in my thoughts, I have been able to see other choices and possibilities in my life that I had not permitted myself to see before.

When things start to seem hard to face, I find something positive to focus on and it drives me to make a greater effort to overcome whatever it is that seems so hard. I am open to new and exciting possibilities rather than simply allowing my thoughts to circle around things that are known, painfully “comfortable”, and that might make me miserable. I have become open to building dreams to follow, setting goals that are tough yet rewarding, and accepting failures as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as something to feel bad about.

The greatest power is that which comes from positive thought. It leaves you feeling charged, excited, happy, and ready to accept any challenge, regardless of the eventual outcome. When you can see yourself simply resorting to I Can’t because it feels comfortable and familiar, positive thinking stops you feeling sad and miserable about what you think you can’t do, and charges you with the strength and determination to achieve what you Will do.

For example, I was in a job that I wasn’t enjoying, where I had lived through every imaginable up and down, and where I was being treated with less respect or courtesy than I deserved. I hadn’t been happy there fore several years, but I felt trapped and as if there was nothing about my life that I could change to make it better. After a few moments of wallowing in the negativity of self pity one day, I consciously let my negative thoughts go and asked myself what was positive about my life. I reminded myself that I was recently married to a beautiful woman, I had two troubled yet ultimately wonderful sons who I am proud of, and that it was only my job that was making me feel so low from day to day. I also reminded myself that I had my long service leave coming up, and that with a 3 month holiday due and some savings, I had an opportunity to start fresh and do something else, and that the savings would buy me time to put my life into order. I resigned from the job where I was so unhappy, and suddenly my mind opened up to other possibilities. I could return to my work as a software developer, I could start my own company, I could study, or I could simply enjoy some time off and worry about it later. None of these possibilities were open to me while my mind was closed and my feelings focussed on the negative rather than positive thoughts about my life.

Another example, I had found myself out of work for a few months, and my chances of being rehired in my own industry looking slimmer by the day because of both the time that had passed, and the fact that the employment market had suddenly shrunk quite considerably just as I had exited my previous job. I had debts piling up and some worrying signs that my mortgage could be foreclosed in the near future. I found myself again getting depressed, stressed, and worried about all of the things that “might” turn bad for me and my family. Again, I took a moment to stop and think about what I really wanted to do, what I could do, and what the options were that were available to me. I looked again for the positives. I was feeling rested from the stresses of my previous job. I’d had lots of time with my sons during their school holidays, and I had taken a more serious interest in fitness, and health. I had learned many things over the past few months, and I had also learned that a personal training course that I had a great interest in that would start in a few months, and that would be affordable.

Feeling really good about all of these things, I made a pre-emptive strike with the bank and arranged an extension of time for some of the repayments. I’ve contacted my superannuation provider and learned that I can access some of my retirement money if I have no other way to afford the payments on my mortgage, I’ve realised that any job that I take on now doesn’t need to be in IT – and probably shouldn’t if I’ve chosen to leave that career behind me, and that by taking such and interest in improving my health and fitness (I had recently been attending “boot camp” training) I was starting to feel physically and mentally better overall. Fast forward to today and I now have only a few weeks until my course to qualify as a PT will start, I have been able to buy lost of time to hold the bank off while I continue looking for work, I have started to apply for simple and low paying jobs anywhere that seems interesting – as long as it keeps the lights on I won’t care what the job is – and I feel as if I am at the beginning of a really exciting time in my life. I feel happier than I ever have, and my wife, kids, and parents have all noticed this change in me. All because I paused to find some positive thoughts to focus on.

So what is the secret? What is the real power of positive thinking? It is the power to take control of your life no matter how challenging your circumstances have become. The ability to turn things around for the better. The power to face any adversity, to use the failures as things to learn from and the successes as things to inspire. The power to be open to any possibility, and to recognise opportunities when they present themselves. The power to set goals, and to achieve them. The power to drive positive change in your life that empowers you rather than always holding you back, and the power to put aside depression and uncertainty and replace them with happiness and strength. The power to restore your health and vitality simply because to choose to do so, and the realisation that all of this is possible simply by choosing to find something positive in each and every situation that you are faced with.

Positive thinking is what changes you from an I hope &¬†I Wish person to an I Can & I Will person, and therein lies it’s true potential and power.

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