Are you a positive person?
Or are you a merchant of doom and gloom?
There are some people who somehow always seem able to look on the bright side of things, no matter what is going on in their life.
Then are other people who seem to delight in looking at all the things that are wrong in the world and all the things that could go wrong for them. And you may have noticed how things invariably go wrong for them!
Do you know someone negative who is like this?
Or maybe it’s you!?
Yes, things can go wrong and stuff can happen – even if you are a “good” person. It’s all just simply part and parcel of the tapestry of life.
It’s how you deal with whatever life throws at you is what matters – and it’s what will ultimately help you grow as a person.
Let me share my own story of what happened a few years ago – I had just lost my job, split up from my wife and was also about to be thrown out of my rented apartment.
Yes, I can’t even imagine now what I went through then. And yes, things looked dire but I realized over time that in the grand scheme of things, my stuff really didn’t matter.
If you are currently facing many challenges, then perhaps you want to consider this – maybe life would become rather dull if it became plain sailing!
I am not advocating creating drama in your life for the sake of it – clearly you don’t want to consciously create negative experiences for the sake of it. What I am advocating is that once stuff is happening in your life for whatever reason, it’s how you deal with it that matters.
I am also not suggesting that you become a happy, clappy smiling person, oozing sickly sweet goodness and beaming positively without any grasp of reality!
Here are my 3 steps for getting things in balance and to always look on the bright side of things:-
1. Get Things into Perspective.
Firstly ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen?
Are you worrying about something unnecessarily?
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday” – John T Tindsley click to tweet
It would help you to get things into perspective. I suggest you grab a pen and paper and write down all the things that you are worried about.
For each item on your list, break it down further and ask yourself:-
What’s the worst that could happen?
Will this really matter in years to come?
Does this really matter in the big scheme of things?
I guarantee you that by simply writing down your worries and briefly analysing them like this, you’ll feel lighter and freer.
Stop taking life so seriously – be outrageous and change your life forever.
So going back to my own story of a few years back when my whole world was crashing around me (even though I was a good person), I had to get things into perspective – fast.
I went through all my worries and problems and though it was hard to be logical during this heart-breaking time, I realized that I still had my own faculties and I could rebuild my life, no matter what. And just a few months later I was back on my feet and on the threshold of a new life and a new career as a coach.
Please know that I do not intend to downplay whatever challenges you might currently be facing, but my invitation to you is this – just go through your list of woes and worries, real or imagined, and have the clear intention to get a different perspective on them.
Also, if you want to be cheered up immediately and be amazed at the wonder of nature, then check out my video on Facebook of a dancing peacock! It’s the same peacock in the image at the top of this post:-
Peacock in Regents Park strutting its stuff!
2. Dump Most of Your Worries
If you have done the exercise above properly, you may have the same realization that I did all those year ago – most of the things you worry about are out of your control!
Please get this once and for all – people can’t do much about most of the things that they moan about.
The greatest realization I had years ago was to focus only on those things that I can actually do something about!
For example, here in the UK it’s almost our national pastime to moan about the weather. Partly it’s understandable as it’s been proven that the UK weather system is the most changeable in the world. Our weather is just not “reliable” and the forecast is often inaccurate. This is just a quirk of our geographical location and it is what it is.
Yet so many British people base their daily mood on the vagaries of the weather!
It amazes me to hear people when they say the “weather is miserable” or “it’s dark and gloomy outside”. For goodness sake, have YOU ever experienced “miserable weather”? You might go out and get wet if it’s raining, but the rain is not miserable in itself – it’s the meaning you are giving to it.
Even the TV and radio weather reporters are caught up in this trap of gloom and doom – rather than just telling us that it’s going to be raining today, they insist on telling us that it’s going to be another “wet and miserable” day – thereby almost instructing the whole country to be miserable!
Next time you hear a weather forecast on TV or Radio, see what negative interpretation the reporter is putting on the weather. Remember – the weather is just weather!
By the way, I am not ranting here about the British perspective of our weather. Though it is something I feel strongly about as it clouds a whole nation’s outlook, I am accepting it for what it is – and you’ll never hear me complaining about the weather. And maybe I could do something about it – but I am happy to focus on things which I consider are more important – such as tackling world hunger.
My point is this – accept that there are so many things in your life and in the world that you can do nothing about!
Reflect on all the worries that you have listed and let go of the ones you can do nothing about – such as the weather!
If it really helps you to let go of these worries, talk to a positive and bubbly friend. Of course if all your friends are also full of doom and gloom, then you have to urgently do two things – first send them a link to this article – and then find new friends!
I made that last suggestion slightly tongue in cheek (because positive people are like that – and we never take ourselves or life too seriously) – but honestly, if all your friends are also negative, then you do need to ask yourself how they are supporting you in your life. Why are they even in your life!?
Be careful that you and your friends don’t all simply end up validating each other’s negative view of the world.
One positive, upbeat, well-meaning friend with your best interest at heart is worth countless negative so called friends who would most likely prefer you to stay at their level of doom and gloom.
Once you have carried out my suggestions in this article, your friends WILL notice something different about you – they’ll wonder why you are no longer supporting them in acknowledging and affirming their world of misery.
They may even wonder if you were taking some happy pills or if you had joined a cult. If they ask you how come you are suddenly so much more positive and happier, just tell them that you read an article by Arvind Devalia :-).
By the way, I am not advocating you dump all your friends over night. If only one could! But as you focus on the positive things in your life, your friends circle will shift gradually and you will attract more suitable, upbeat friends and people into your life.
Remember, you can be annoyingly positive and still keep your boring friends!
So step two is dump your worries (and maybe some friends too 🙂 ).
3. Take Simple and Focused Actions
By now you’ll have whittled down your so-called worries and you should be left with a much shorter list of things that you can actually do something about!
I now even hesitate calling them “worries” in this context. Really, what you have got now is a list of concerns about certain aspects of your life.
And most importantly, these concerns are actually areas of your life that you can actually DO SOMETHING about.
All those things you were worried about and being miserable over are gone. How great is that! Now you are in a position to actually move forward in your life.
And this is the MOST important takeaway for you from this article:-
Take the FIRST step in your life to tackle what’s been concerning you.
This is what you must do now. Take the first item on your list and break it down into simple, logical action steps you need to take to make it happen.
So for example, going back to my own life scenario a few years ago, I realized that the most important step for me was to get a new job. I broke down my action steps into updating my CV, registering with 10 agencies, speaking to friends and contacts in my industry, visiting internet job sites daily etc. I made it my full time job to get a new job – and less than 3 weeks later, I had 2 job offers. And the rest is history.
During one of the job interviews, the interviewer probed into my personal situation and when I explained where I was at and what was going on in my personal life, he was amazed at how positive and upbeat I was. He actually offered me a higher role than the one I had been interviewed for!
The lesson for me was this – when you are being authentic and you are genuinely upbeat, people want you around them and they want to help you. Then naturally good things come your way.
And good things will come your way too – as long as you start taking positive actions to allay your concerns.
The action you take doesn’t have to be anything dramatic either. So far example, if you have financial concerns, it could be as simple as calling the bank and making an appointment to see an adviser If you have just broken up from someone, then look at meeting up with a friend for tea and talking over things, rather than mopping at home.
Your life will be simplified and a path forward will become clearer as you go through your concerns – just remember to take simple, logical steps.
It’s up to you – you don’t want to one day look back and say “if only“.
Just remember the words to the famous song from the Monty Python team in “Life of Brian” – Always Look on the Bright Side of Things!
The Way Forward
Earlier on I mentioned something about how some positive people I have met are simply happy, clappy people, oozing sickly sweet goodness and beaming positively, without any grasp of reality.
Most likely you have met someone like this – so you probably know just what I mean!
Well clearly, we don’t want to you to become one of them. However, what I do want for you is to see that it is possible to go through life without being angst ridden and full of anxieties and worries.
By getting a deeper perspective about what’s concerning you, letting go of those things you can do nothing about and then taking focused action in those areas which will truly impact your life positively, will do wonders for you.
So dear readers, the choice is yours – begin today and open yourself up to a more upbeat way of living. And know that from today onwards, you’ll never ever moan about the weather and nor will you let your friends dump their stories of gloom and doom on you.
Always remember that no matter what, the sun is always shining above the clouds. In the same way, there’s always something better for you around the corner. You just have to take a few simple steps and make it happen.
Have sunshine in your life all year around.
I wish you all an amazing life journey, full of sunshine, upbeat friends and of course most important of all, reliable weather forecasts :-).
(This article written by me was previously published on Elle Sommer’s blog at Reflecting a Life).
Great advice Arvind! Life is full of promise to those who look for life’s gifts in every moment! Happy Friday!
Good article, and good advice! I have found (this might sound a bit counter-productive but it works for me) when I am facing a lot of challenge, to really ask, what is the worst that can happen? Sometimes you also need to consciously focus on letting your expectations go, as well. One of my favorite Zen sayings: “Now that my house has burned down, I have a better view of the rising moon.” Sometimes hard to get to this point, but it helps put things in perspective!