One of the most important things to remember whenever you are working and studying is to develop a positive attitude. That does not mean just assuming you can do something without having to work at it – that isn’t positive, that is arrogant and thoughtless.
What is a positive attitude? It is essentially the way you see the world. The belief that with hard work and effort, you can succeed in doing the things you and the world want you to do. There is no secret to positive thinking, it is a conscious choice that you make.
Some people find it easy to be positive about life, their glass is always half full, while others struggle and see themselves as victims – their glass is always half-empty. The people with the half-full glass choose to see the good things, where they have done well, and how they can do better – those with the half-empty one, choose to see the failures, believe it is all ‘too hard’ and set themselves up to fail.
Positive thinking involves self-discipline and you can never start too early.
The first step is to recognise that success requires hard work – no-one learns by magic! You have to ignore that fascinating video game and instead work through that boring piece of homework: to go through the notes you took in class rather than watch a film on your tablet, but this awareness is not the only factor that creates a healthy attitude to life. You must also motivate yourself. To understand just how much better your future will be if you are a ‘self-starter’ – someone who will work without having to be nagged or told what to do all the time.
If you find this idea hard to grasp – ask yourself this question “Do I want to spend all my life being told what to do or do I want to choose what I do?” In short, do you want to organise your own life? Good exam results give you choice – choice in what you study – choice in the kind of job you do – choice in the kind of place you live and work. If choice is what you want, you need to develop a positive attitude and to be self-motivating.
To help you develop this mind-set, here are some healthy mental habits you can start practising today.
Get rid of the Negative
The first way to stay positive is to strip away all the negative labels you place on yourself. If you tend to see yourself as a victim: to always think ‘everyone always picks on me’ or ‘of course they always blame me’ or to assume, no matter what you are asked to do, that it will go wrong. It stops you thinking sensibly.
Think about it this way – just because when you start to plan something, all you see are what can go wrong, does not mean that is the only way of looking at it. Remove those miserable thoughts like the rotting branches off a tree and capitalise on the strength of the ‘branches’ or positive thoughts which remain. Changing the way you think and see what you are doing, is not always easy, and you may feel stressed. How to tackle these feelings? First of all, accept it is difficult and secondly, don’t give up.
The sooner you accept that your brain is struggling to unlearn old habits, old ways of thinking and approaching life, the quicker you’ll get over the initial stages and cope well.
You may sometimes feel discouraged because you don’t feel you are making quick enough progress and other people seem to find things easy. Don’t let that stop you from replacing the negative thoughts you have developed about yourself with positive thoughts instead. Think about something you are proud of having learned to do – swim, run, ride a bike, cook – almost anything. You had to take time to learn to do those – you are going to take time to see yourself in a good light too!
Resist going back over the bad things – it never helps. Remember that your beliefs and opinions about ourselves have the power to create or destroy you and you should be very careful of that. Everyone is unique and it is your responsibility to create something meaningful and positive out of your life experiences.
Being positive about life will bring you satisfaction and will help you accomplish more on a daily basis. Never be discouraged when things don’t go your way, use your negative experiences to encourage and empower you to achieve your goals.
One of the things that helps with positive thinking is being organized. If you are not motivated enough to get going, organizing the things around you can have a really therapeutic effect. Something as simple as packing your bag the night before means you do not have to rush about in the morning! A good start to the day.
Organise your books – sort out your folders. It saves time when you are working and so increases your free time later.
Everyone works better if they know there is a reward at the end of the hard labour. It must be something you really want – that is what makes it positive and motivates you. Make it on a sliding scale – after 50 minutes concentrated work you can have ten minutes break and a cup of hot chocolate, but after a day’s concentrated revision you can go out with your friends and have a meal or go to the cinema.