When I was younger, somehow, I had managed to understand the importance of positive thinking. I had realized, early on, that the way I shaped my thoughts and how I viewed things in life had a big impact on what I could ultimately accomplish and achieve.
While thinking about things in a positive light wasn’t the only thing that helped me reach my goals, there was real power in positive thinking. I leveraged that knowledge to gain a mental advantage and push towards my goals tirelessly.
And, combined with the right recipe that includes things like taking constant and massive action, planning, tracking your results, and making changes where needed, anyone can leverage positive thinking to achieve even the loftiest of goals. Yes, anyone.
So how and why does this work?
Well, at the very basis of who we are, what we do, and just how much we’re capable of in life, are our thoughts. The energy possessed in such a simple concept is far more complex than any one of us could ever imagine or wrap our minds around.
Thoughts are composed of pure energy. They move as electrical impulses across the synapses (gaps) between any one of the 100 billion neurons in the mind, methodically circulating from one to the next as they make their way through intricate neural networks.
The same thoughts that comprise the majority of our thinking helps to determine our emotional and spiritual state at any given moment. As a result, our actions and behavior leverage those thoughts as a foundation of support, helping to calculate our direction in the present and the future.
Our thoughts also work to shape our belief systems and just what it is that we’re passionate about. And, due to those beliefs, we conduct ourselves in different ways, creating habits and building experiences over time that help to strengthen whatever it is that we believe in.
To sum it all up, we are the amalgamation of all of our thoughts. What we think, we become, in effect. The sheer power in that statement is often overlooked by most people who chalk positive thinking up to some new age mumbo jumbo, so to speak. But the pure power of thought is apparent to some who understand and have learned to leverage it to achieve greatness.
In fact, the human mind actually processes upwards of 60,000 thoughts each day, a large majority of which occur at the subconscious level. Thoughts help us to implement very routine behaviors such as getting dressed or brushing our teeth, and very complex behaviors, such as programming a piece of software or solving a difficult mathematical problem.
While some people might brush off the importance of their thoughts, there’s profound power in steering your thoughts in the right direction. This isn’t to say that positive thinking by itself is not enough to help us achieve our goals; rather, it can be used as leverage to help us get there.
Considering that such a simple concept such as a thought can spark a revolution of behavior and change, the more we pay homage to our thoughts and just how we decide to wield them, the more we can shape the trajectory and meaning of our lives in the most powerful and potent ways.
Thoughts can help to determine who we are, what we believe in, and ultimately, the things we achieve in life. Learn to use your thoughts the right way, and you can unlock the hidden potential in your mind, which is often locked away by fear, negativity, anxiety, and stress.
The Landscape of Our Thoughts
Often, many of us forget the power hidden inside our very minds. The true reason that we are where we are in life — why we have the things that we do, whether positive or negative — has very much to do with how we control our thoughts.
Are the thoughts going through our minds negative? Are we constantly criticizing and critiquing others? Do we find ourselves filled with envy, jealousy, or regret, blaming others for our personal circumstances? Or, do we look at things in a positive light, understanding that there is a greater good, even through the enormous amounts of pain and failure that we might suffer?
Do we direct our thoughts in a positive direction, focusing on love, contribution, and adding value to the world? Or, do we choose the opposite path? The power in the simple moment-to-moment decisions of just how we choose to think about something, can determine the sway and outcome of our lives. There is real power in that.
Everything that exists in the world was once just a thought. You were once just a thought. The chair that you’re sitting on or the bed that you sleep in at night was once just a thought. The pipes that deliver water, electricity, and gas to your house or apartment were once just a thought. The car, bus, or train you ride around in every day were also once just thoughts.
On an atomic level, when we look at the composition of the human body and all of the objects surrounding us, what we’ll find is that 99.999999999999% of those atoms are empty space. The remaining balance are the protons, electrons, and neutrons.
What’s more? The same atoms that provide the makeup of the human body were once part of the cosmos. Through the supernovas that exploded and spread the elements across the universe, we eventually emerged. It took billions of years, but everything that we are and have ever been, were once part of the same makeup.
We are one and the same with the universe. One atom is connected to the other, not only in this world, but across the entire universe. And the thing that binds us all is the simple but powerful energy of thought that can transmute both time and space, originating at the very beginning of it all and binding every living and breathing creature.
What we Think, We Become
In a widely-celebrated book that still to this day is a best seller in the ‘New Thought Movement,” a man named James Allen penned a classic called ‘As a Man Thinketh.’ Originally published in 1903, its words still ring true to this very day, and are likely to ring true for ages to come. The book opens with the following foreword:
“THIS little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written-upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that—
‘They themselves are makers of themselves.’
by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.” — James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
His words strike a chord with all those who read them. In effect, he says that we are all master weavers of our lives, and that we choose, create, and weave not only our characters, but also the circumstances that we find ourselves in, by threading together the thoughts that we selectively choose in our minds.
While some of us might dwell on past experiences, taking on the roles of the victim, others might use the same circumstances to drive and fuel the creation of a life beyond even their wildest dreams. As James Allen puts it, “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.”
The question then remains, just how can we use the power of positive thinking to achieve our goals and summon the winds of change rather than allow negative thinking to cast us out into stormy waters, suffocating and drowning us in a sea of misery and despair?
There are, in effect, 5 very effective ways you can use the power of positive thinking to not only achieve your short-term goals, but also to design the life of your dreams. Every aspect of your life that you can envision in your mind, you can achieve. While some naysayers might refute that statement, the evidence is clear all around us.
People from all walks of life, especially those who’ve been told that they would never or could never achieve something, did so in the wake of all that negativity and doubt. There’s something very powerful about a 5-foot 3-inch man named Muggsy Bouges, playing professional basketball for 16 years when everyone said he couldn’t do it.
#1 — There is Real Power in Extreme Focus
The first way to leverage the power of positive thinking is to wholeheartedly understand that there is true power in extreme focus of the mind. When we use the mind like a laser beam, focusing it on the object of our desires, some incredible things transpire.
Now, this isn’t to say that you can wish your way to a million dollars, the ideal weight, the perfect relationship, or the mega-mansion. You can’t do that. Behind that focus needs to be consistent action exercised every single day. But, when the focus is there, and it’s strong enough, action becomes almost a byproduct. Your mind begins seeking out the way in which it can fulfill its desires.
Whatever we focus on, we tend to see in life. Our thoughts have a very powerful way of finding evidence for no matter what it is that we believe or focus our attention towards. Focus on negativity, and it’s fairly easy to find endless evidence to support whatever negative pattern of thinking you harbor.
However, when the focus shifts from negativity to positivity, the same is true. Focus on positive things, and you’ll find positive evidence to support the vision. Focus your mind so strongly on a goal, knowing and believing that you can achieve it, and you’ll find ways to get there.
#2 — Vividly Visualize Your Intended Outcome
It’s not easy to visualize the achievement of your goals. For some people who lack the ability to visualize, achieving grand things by leveraging positive thinking takes a bit more work. For others who can visualize things so vividly, achieving their goals is far more fluid.
Why? When you can visualize, you’re just a few steps away from attainment. Vivid visualization always precedes the attainment of a goal. So, if you can’t visualize it, you’re far less likely to achieve it. So what do you do if you can’t visualize using the power of positive thinking?
Go somewhere that you’ll see the materialization of your goals firsthand. If you dream of owning a certain house in a certain neighborhood, go see it. Walk through it with a realtor or visit one that’s having an opening house on the weekend. Actually see all the rooms and imagine yourself living there. Imagine yourself sitting on the couch and watching TV or preparing food in the kitchen.
If you dream of owning a certain type of car, go to the dealership and go for a test drive. Even if you can’t afford to buy it, do it anyway. There’s something very powerful about that. The best way to picture yourself doing something is to actually do it.
The same thing applies for travel. If you dream of travel, go through the booking process until you hit the final page. Don’t pay for it but pick your dates and print out the itinerary right before payment. Put it up on your wall. Feel what it would feel like to actually mentally prepare for that trip.
Too many people brush off this kind of tactic — in leverage positive thinking and visualization to achieve their goals. But it works. It doesn’t work on its own — it needs to be fueled by action, planning, and constant analysis. But, the visualization helps to get you just a little bit closer, mentally speaking. It feels less out of reach and more within your grasp.
#3 — Be Mindful of Negative Thoughts
The biggest thing that can hold us back when trying to leverage positive thinking, is just the opposite. When negative thoughts enter our mind, it can all but defeat a large part of our progress by striking fear, anxiety, and stress.
Negative thoughts make us worry about the future, or regret decisions of the past, posing all kinds of what-ifs, would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves. But, if you want to succeed in whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, you have to be mindful of negative thoughts.
You have to realize that negative thoughts will come and go, and they should be allowed to ebb and flow like the tides of an ocean. You must watch them come and go as they wash the emotion over you, but you mustn’t allow them to dampen or even deaden your spirit.
Being mindful of negative thoughts isn’t easy, however. It takes constant practice. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of the moment, allowing our thoughts to take us on a wild rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns. But it is possible.
To become mindful of your negative thoughts, you must practice every single day in order to develop the mindfulness habit. To do this, sit quiet in a meditative position — cross your legs and fold your arms, clasping your thumb and index finger with your palms to the sky as they rest on your thighs.
Allow some minutes to pass. Don’t try to empty or close yourself off from your thoughts. Sit there with zero distractions. Turn off the phone, computer, and anything else that can interrupt you. Just sit there with your eyes closed and allow your thoughts to pass through your mind. As the negative thoughts come, let them go, washing back out like a wave into the ocean of thought in your mind.
If you experience an emotion due to the negative thoughts, let is wash over you only momentarily. Watch it, as if you were a bird perched high above your head, seeing the emotion as it comes, and allowing it to go back out.
Once the negative thought leaves your mind, flip the script and replace it with a positive thought. Take whatever negative thought came into your mind and repeat it back to yourself, but this time, only in a positive light. Don’t dwell on it. Just say it one time in reverse, making it positive, and then let it go.
Do this for 15 to 20 minutes every day for at least 90 days, allowing the habit to settle in. And watch as your life is transformed in front of your very eyes.
#4 — Get Inspired by Others Who’ve Achieved Greatness
We can use a platform of positive thinking to achieve our goals by finding others that can provide a source of inspiration and motivation for us. There are plenty of people who’ve overcome challenges to achieve their goals, even famous ones.
It’s far easier to leverage the power of positive thinking when we can use real-world examples of people that we’re familiar with to inspire ourselves to achieve our goals. Use resources like YouTube and TED Talks to seek out videos, talks, and interviews on the people that inspire you.
Take to the Web and search for articles and learn about the history of others that you’re trying to emulate. Go as far as putting up a vision board in your home or office that you can pin up inspirational photos, quotes, and even articles to. Or, do it the digital way by using Websites like Pinterest, FlipBoard, and others.
Remember, seek and you shall find. When we look for the right evidence, we’ll find it, as long as that’s our focus. When we don’t, we’ll find just the opposite. Keep filling your mind with good things and eventually good things will come out.
#5 — Do Not Give Up: Be Persistent with Your Positive Thinking
I know that it sounds like a mantra — don’t give up and be persistent, but no words have ever been truer. Remember that anything worthwhile is going to be difficult. If it were easy, don’t you think that anyone would do it? When we persistent and we don’t give up, leveraging the power of positive thinking will allow us to achieve any goal over time.
It doesn’t matter how old or young, short or tall, disadvantage or poor we are, as long as the goal means enough to us, we’ll find a way. As long as you can frame your positive thinking in that light, looking at the example others have set before you, you’ll use it as a platform for growth and achievement.
We also have to ignore the naysayers because they’ll be out in full force. You’ll have plenty of people telling you “I told you so” when you fail or hit some stumbling blocks. Oftentimes, people don’t want to see others succeeding that are close to them, so they’ll try to pull them back down to earth, so to speak. Don’t listen to any of them.
Anything that’s worthwhile in life is going to take time. But, as long as we stay persistent, we can leverage a platform of positive thinking to do even the most outlandish things. Things that were at one time just ridiculous and even silly goals, are today very real and exact.
If people never thought positive, would we today be walking around with computers in our pockets? Would we have cars that drove themselves? Would we have airplanes that could take us halfway around the world in a matter of hours? Would we have landed on the moon or be sending people to Mars?
No, of course not. We wouldn’t have any of those things if people gave up. Never give up on your hopes and your dreams. As long as something is important enough to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.