I could tell you how amazing you are 20 times over and you’ll never listen to me. I could explain how I think you’ve got everything it takes to succeed, how you’re already doing great but you’re going to do better, and for the most part you’ll probably ignore me: in one ear, out the other.
But a stranger could walk up to you off the street or walk into your fitness business and tell you that you’ll never succeed, that you don’t have what it takes to make it, that you’re already a failure, and you’ll probably remember that day for the rest of your life.
That’s just how we work (for the most part, anyway). We ignore the positive messages in our life and choose to focus on the negatives.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
And it really shouldn’t. How do you expect to motivate yourself every day if you’re focusing on all the people who say you’ll never make it? Where will you find the drive and determination to grow your business when your thoughts are focused on what you can’t, rather than what you can do?
You have to make the conscious decision to force the negativity out of your life and focus on the positive.
Negativity is a noose around your neck, tightening and tightening as you struggle to get free. It’s like a ball and chain around your ankles that gets heavier the harder you try to run.
It’s crippling— so get rid of it.
But it’s not quite that simple. While it isn’t an easy thing to do in the first place, there’s definitely a wrong way to get rid of the negativity in your life.
Doing away with negativity and adopting an optimistic point of view is not a free pass to ignore reality. You don’t get to pretend that everything is perfect, that everything is going to stay perfect, or that you have no worries.
Because there will always be problems. There won’t be a day in your life that doesn’t have problems and you are going to need to fix those problems.
But an optimistic individual can see a problem, understand its severity, and then without hesitation or delay, successfully address that problem.
So this isn’t a free pass to ignore your issues or the world’s evils, rather it’s a tool that outfits you with the ability to address and solve difficulties.
Alright then, so where do we go from here?
Well, I’ve got a couple strategies—guidelines, if you will—to help you successfully and safely be rid of debilitating negativity.
The first place to address negativity is in your mind: your own thoughts are the easiest place to counteract negative messages.
But you’ll never completely eradicate negative thinking. Obviously an active mind facing a difficult situation is going to anticipate multiple outcomes, including bad ones. It’s how you react to those thoughts that matters.
As soon as you begin to believe that something is for certain going wrong or that there’s no way you can succeed, that’s when you actively fight against your harmful thoughts. That’s when you remind yourself of all your other successes, of the people who believe in you and are willing to help you, and of your ability to skillfully and successfully address the issue.
But remember, don’t promise yourself that everything is going to be O.K.. Instead, expect things to go well while preparing for the possibility that they might go horribly wrong. And if they do go wrong, execute the plan you’ve already put into place.
Positivity comes from preparation. Prepare for negative thoughts and fight them as soon as they enter your brain. Prepare for negative situations and deal with them without worry, excessive stress or depression.
Obviously, there’s only so much you can do— life can really blind-side you sometimes. But you can maintain a positive attitude and healthy thoughts by actively counterbalancing negative behaviors and situations.
But what about thoughts, ideas, or images you can’t control? What about other people’s thoughts?
You can’t force others to be positive. You can’t ensure that your best friend won’t complain all day long and you can’t guarantee that your mother won’t fill you with doubt and fear. The people in our lives can be, for many, the largest sources of negativity.
And that really only leaves you with two options: you either ask them to keep their negativity to themselves or you reduce your interaction with them.
Neither of these options is simple. A friendly request to keep things positive can easily be misunderstood or even offensive for some. And as for cutting loved ones out of your life, it doesn’t get any more difficult than that…
But either option is better than allowing yourself (and your business, as a consequence) to get dragged down by someone else’s incessant negativity.
Do your best to influence those around you with your dedication to positivity. Steer conversation toward what’s great rather than what is wrong and discuss solutions instead of dwelling on problems. Remind the people in your life, just like I’m doing here, not to live within a constant cloud of negativity.
But sometimes you can only go so far, you can only influence people so much. When it comes to problematic people who insist on negativity your only option is to learn to live without them.
There will always be individuals who find their way into your life and then lie in wait, ready to drag you down just to keep you form rising above. And it’s your responsibility to make sure those individuals go right back out of your life.
I know this appears as a rather cynical worldview, but the only positive way to deal with this reality is cutting off interaction with those kinds of people.
So if your brother insists on reminding you of how you don’t have what it takes to run your own business, then stop calling him. And if your ‘friend’ keeps asking you to blow-off responsibilities to get smashed, then find someone else to spend time with.
Now, hang on a minute, you’ve got to be extremely careful here. There’s a razor thin edge you’ll be walking along when deciding who gets to stay and in your life who needs to leave.
If you want to do this right and avoid devastating consequences, never confuse negativity with criticism. Cutting someone out of your life just because you can’t accept his or her constructive criticism is a devastating move.
Usually it’s those who love us the most that offer criticism— it would be extremely unfortunate to let those kinds of relationships deteriorate. But what’s even more important to remember is that those people who offer you criticism, the ones who love you the most, are usually the ones who know you the best. In other words, if they’re trying to let you know you’re wrong about something, odds are, they’re right.
So learn to tell the difference between a negative person trying to tear you down and a loved one trying to boost you up.
Cut out the negative and absorb the criticism into a positive outlook on all the ways you’re going to improve.
Committed to your success,