There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
— W. Clement Stone
When I was a teenager I was the primary target of an extremely persistent bully at my high school. One day I came home in tears and wrote this on the whiteboard hanging on my bedroom wall: “I hate bullies. They make me feel like a loser.”
The next day, while I was at school, my grandmother erased what I wrote on the whiteboard and replaced it with this: “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”
And from that day forward I felt better. I made a conscious decision to stop letting the bully get inside my head. I changed my beliefs about his level of importance in my life.
It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over what you choose to believe. You can effectively defend yourself against all kinds of negativity by adopting simple, yet powerful, beliefs that support a positive outlook in the face of seemingly negative circumstances.
Below you will find 15 such beliefs that have helped free me from the grips of negativity. I have these beliefs written down in my journal, and I review them on a regular basis, as needed, just to keep them fresh in my mind. I hope you will join me by adopting them into your own belief system as well…
- What other people say about me is their problem, not mine. – Don’t take other people’s negativity personally. Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with. What they say and do is a projection of their own reality. Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you. What others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.
- I am free to be ME. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and what they want. Stop living for other people and their opinions. Be true to yourself. You are the only person in charge of your life. The only question is: What do you want to do with the rest of it?
- Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is great. – Our goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life in radical amazement. To get up every morning and take and good look around in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is extraordinary. Every day is a gift. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual in any way is to be amazed in every way. (Read The Happiness Project.)
- It’s okay to have down days. – Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down. However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs. It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
- Even when I’m struggling, I have so much to be grateful for. – What if you awoke today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday? We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of appreciating everything we do have. Stress thrives when your worry list is longer than your gratitude list. Happiness thrives when your gratitude list is longer than your worry list. So find something to be thankful for right now.
- Every experience is just another important lesson. – Disappointments and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success. So don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. When things go wrong, learn what you can and then push the tragedies and mistakes aside. Remember, life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. We must fail in order to know, and hurt in order to grow. Good things often fall apart so better things can fall together in their place.
- Not everything is meant to stay. – Change can be terrifying, yet all positive growth and healing requires change. Sometimes you have to find the good in goodbye. Because the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence. Be strong when everything seems to be going wrong, keep taking small steps, and eventually you will find what you’re looking for. Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.
- Being wrong is the first step to being right. – Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places. To be creative and productive in life, you must first lose your fear of being wrong. And remember, a fear like this can only survive inside you if you let it live there.
- I do not need to hold on to what’s holding me back. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become. It’s time to break the beliefs and routines that have been holding you back. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer grows you. Listen to your intuition, not your ego. When you stop chasing the wrong beliefs, you give the right ideas a chance to catch you. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- My happiness today is simply the result of my thinking. – Happiness starts with you – not with your relationships, not with your job, not with your money, but WITH YOU. It is not always easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is always impossible to find it elsewhere. Regardless of the situation you face, your attitude is your choice. Remember, you can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude. When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behavior, actions, and opportunities. If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would try your best to never think another negative thought again.
- Who I spend quality time with matters. – Surround yourself with people who lift you higher – those who see the great potential in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.
- Drama and judgments are a waste of perfect happiness. – Make a promise to yourself. Promise to stop the drama before it begins, to breathe deeply and peacefully, and to love others and yourself without conditions. Promise to laugh at your own mistakes, and to realize that no one is perfect; we are all human. Feelings of self-worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible. (Read The Mastery of Love.)
- Most people are judging me far less than it seems. – The truth is, while you’re busy worrying about what others think of you, they’re busy worrying about what you think of them. Crazy? Yes, but true. The good news is this knowledge instantly frees you to let loose and do more of what YOU want. And while doing so, you’ll also liberate others to do the same.
- I can make the world a happier place. – Do your best to help one person every day in some small way. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answers to our own. When the people around us are happier, it’s a lot easier to smile.
- The work is worth it. – Lose the expectation that everything in life should be easy. It rarely is. In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Enjoy the challenge of your achievements. See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize that patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams. It’s knowing deep down that the work is well worth it in the end.
What is the biggest source of negativity in your life? What helps you stay motivated in the face of this negativity? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Elijah Nouvelage
Janni "Gulde" Iversen says
When I spend my first of two years on efterskole (“afterschool”, unique Danish independent residential school according to wikipedia), I had a fantastic relationship to my roommate. One of the first days, she suggested that every night in bed before going to sleep we should tell each other at least one good thing that had happened that day. Now, almost 8 years later, I have resumed that habit and it has thought me, that life is, what you decide for it to be through what you choose to focus on. Ever since restarting that kind of positive thinking, I have experienced how my life seems to be so much brighter, not because dark clouds doesn’t exist, but because there is so much sunshine we often forget to think about is even there. Even through the toughest times, there is still so much positive in the world – we simply just have to look for it. We are not avoid the bad things all together, that is not possible anyway – but aim for the good things and focus upon that, and you’ll see the world change around you as you see it with other eyes.
I just want to say, this is a great article and very inspiring for me as an artist. Especially your grandmother’s quote! Fantastic 🙂 Thank you for sharing
My biggest source of negativity is myself. Yes, I have experienced some very difficult situations and people, but in the end I have to choose how I deal with it.
One, let go of trying to prove you are better than the negative person in your life. Deal with the situation and then let it go. It does not serve you or anyone in your vacinity to hang onto talking bad about the negative person in your life. All that does is grow the negativity.
Two, never stop feeding the positive. I love reading these articles as they help me refocus. We all need to hear from someone else reminders of something’s we know and learn new ways of thinking too.
Three, I write it down. It’s proven as an effective form of therapy. It can help change your mind for the good. Sometimes I write in a journal, sometimes sticky notes on the mirror for me to read aloud to myself. That really helps!
A positive lifestyle comes from creating good habits that feed a positive mind. I find myself frequently in a place of refocusing – redirecting. If I’m off track, I don’t have to stay there.
My encouragement would be to never give up. This is a process that is a life’s work. A healthy mind requires attention just like a healthy body.
My biggest source of negativity is thinking about past mistakes, and how they may affect the future. I’ve been trying to tell myself. You are a good person who has made human mistakes. Your wife and children love you unconditionally
Life is too short for negativity. It’s bad for the heart and soul. Thank God for each morning that is given to you. Lift up your heart… even on gray days – it happens sometimes – and all we can do is think positive and say everything is going to be alright 🙂
This has brought about an epiphany. After adding the thoughts from the posts of others that were most meaningful to me and my own thoughts to each of these beliefs, I feel that I can better understand myself and create a vision of what I want my life to be. It may have taken me 60 years to do this, but I’m on the right track. Thank you so much.
Arshad Abdullah says
I searched for “its little difficult to be me” and it brought me here.
Not what I was looking for, but rather exactly what I needed.
Thank you for this motivational article.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” 🙂
Have a good life.
Finally, someone understands. This will be added in my offline reading list. I thank u so much for this post. It had made me to act upon my everyday choices in life with patience and strong positive beliefs.
Always looking for the positive and reason for everything that impacts us all. Pleased to see these powerful thoughts.
God Bless everyone!
Stumbled across two articles from this site tonight. I’m not expecting my recovery to be overnight but this has really made me think. But re training myself to be positive is the most difficult. From the outside I seem to have a great life, but inside my head is different. The inner monologue is always gloomy and angry at times. I suppose I won’t change if I don’t try. I’ve made done difficult steps recently in eliminating someone who was constantly suppressing me but the change process is difficult. I’m looking forward to the sunshine after the rain.
Thank you for your great article that helped me think positively today.
Being positive always helps lead me to success.
marc d. says
To me, it’s about letting go of all attachments, whether in the physical world, or in the mental world. There are many things in life that threaten us reaching our destiny…some of those negative things are outside us (in the physical world)…the more dangerous ones are the ones inside us (negative mental patterns, mindsets, or beliefs, etc.) that we are so attached to that can totally derail one’s entire life.
Before you know it, you will be a certain age asking yourself “what the hell did i do to end up here?” Open your eyes before it is too late.
You have the power to avoid putting yourself in your own hell.
Hi, I really like your comment, it helped me to get back on the wagon of not getting too tied up in the thinking errors in my head. I have had some really bad crap happen in my life… lots of abuse, illness, loosing children to a manipulating abusive parent, too much other stuff to list. Most of the time I can keep it in perspective; but when the next big thing go’s wrong, it dumps me right off the positive wagon. It is a big job to get back on. I like hearing other points of view and thoughts, as I am hoping to formulate a way to just NOT fall of the wagon in the first place. Thanks for your input, very mind opening.
gray sand says
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Thanks for this. To let what other people think of you, influence the image you have of yourself is an easy trap to fall into. Even worse is when those thoughts themselves are created by your own insecurities.
Aaryck'n AZ says
Thank you for sharing these philosophies. I find myself taking on the negativity of internet/news/facebook comments. I have to remind myself not to take on their negativity. Ultimately I want peace in my life and I want to love and surround myself with the things that make me feel good about the world. I think I will find a way to talk about something that was good in my day each time before I go to bed. I like that as a starting point.
Really very motivating….. i usually get surrounded by negativity.. but after reading the complete text i understood that its my life and my choice… i am not here in this world to fulfill the expectations of those creepy negative people.. but i am here to live my own life… so thanks very much for making me realize this
I am having a hard time on getting a job especially here in my country. Sometimes I just want to give up and I feel hopeless but I was thinking that if I totally give up, I will lose everything. I am still holding on to my hope that someday I will have a good life. This article is wonderful.
robert del prado says
Remember, your God’s perfect child because you love with every fiber of your being.