You don’t get a state of mind, you do a state of mind.
Im a motivational speaker. I’m supposed to be the guy who is happy all the time. But yesterday, I had two different speaking engagements that both fell through. I’ll be honest, at the beginning, I was like ‘what the heck’, this happens once a year and I have two of these on the same day? It was really frustrating. I’m not naturally positive, but I made the choice to think positively about the situation. I had to take a couple of minutes, let my frustration out, and then, no more. I decided I was going to focus on what I could do.
Positivity is an attitude, and happiness comes as the result of that attitude. It is a discipline and something you have to work on, much like a muscle.
Positivity is not thinking everything is great all the time. It’s about focusing on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t. You can’t control what has happened, but you can control what you do in the now. I had a major change in my life when I realised I wasn’t taking responsibility for myself. I was 270 pounds and my wife and I were struggling to have children. My health was the reason for that. For so long, I felt it was unfair that I was having these problems and I just blamed everything. Everything outside of me was the problem.
Then I started getting into personal development. Specifically Jack Hanfield and Tony Robbins’s work. Jack talks about taking 100% responsibility for everything in your life. With the weight loss I experienced, I knew 90% was in my mind. When I started taking responsibility, I saw my trial as a good thing and actually, my biggest blessing. The thing that I thought was unfair that was happening to me, was actually happening for me.
What is wrong is always available and so is what’s right.
What you choose to focus on is the biggest choice that you can make. It will have the biggest impact on your life. If you choose to focus on why you can’t, you won’t be able to. But if you choose to focus on why you can, the good news is, you can do something about the things you are unhappy with.
The number one thing that changed me, was my morning ritual. The second I get out of bed, I put my shoes on and go for a walk. I start exercising and while I’m doing that, I focus on what I have to be grateful for. When you turn your attention towards cultivating gratitude, you will find more things to be grateful for. I’m not a big meditator, but this is kind of my form of meditation. Even with problems, rather than thinking about the problem, I choose to focus on the solutions and do that every single morning.
You are what you eat, but your mind is what you consume. Whatever you consume is what you are.
We have the choice of who and what we’re going to consume. It’s your choice who you choose to focus on and what you choose to subscribe to. Noone has control over your thoughts, only you have that choice. In his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, the psychologist Victor Frankel cites Dostoevsky in his mention of man’s “inner freedom”. As an inmate of an Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II, the psychologist wrote that every individual has the fundamental authority to decide if he will be moulded by circumstance, or “decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually”.
Positivity is not denying the existence of problems, or adversity. It is about finding the good in the wrong and knowing you can do something about it. An event, plus your response, equals your outcome. Maybe you don’t have control over an event. Arguably, sometimes you do. Let’s just say you don’t, you always have a hundred percent control over your response. With everything that happens in your life, you either somehow contributed to it, or you have control over what you’re going to do about it.
I stay so positive because the alternative sucks.
I think that positivity is the most practical advice you can give anyone for their success. In my work, I have spoken to many inspirational people who have overcome adversity. From Sean Stephenson, Diamond Dallas Page to the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball, the one thing I noticed they all had in common was that they didn’t take no for an answer. The people who are successful have an indefatigable attitude that refuses to be defeated no matter how hard it gets. When asked how he stays so positive, Diamond Dallas Page responded “I stay so positive because I work at it”. I asked Sean Stevenson the same and he replied, “I’ve tried the other and I’m unhappy, unsuccessful and not a good person to be around. When I flip that around and choose to focus on the positive, that’s when life is good. That’s when I’m happy, and that’s when I offer value to the world”.
All the people who are truly inspiring have experienced trials and heartaches, they were just willing to keep going no matter what. It’s ok if a moment or situation makes you feel frustrated. But, when you become a victim, it does nothing but harm for you. I think positivity and happiness is a choice and only you can decide your attitude and what to focus on.
Jake Ballentine is a motivational speaker, musician and author of ‘Your Number One Goal’. He is widely known for his ‘Focus on the Good’ project, a topical weekly podcast featuring the advice and stories of inspirational people. Calling attention to the power of a positive worldview, he is dedicated to inspiring others to be the change they want to see in the world. Follow the link here to listen to his latest broadcasts.