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The Power of Positive Thinking

by eHarmony Staff

The Power of Positive Thinking

“The power of positive thinking” is a phrase that gets used by lots of people in many different ways. Sometimes it even gets misused. But when you get right down to it, it’s actually pretty simple, and it really can be powerful. Basically, the power of positive thinking is about setting intentions for how you’d like your life to be and then believing that you really can influence the way things happen. The idea is to turn intention into reality.

Let’s look at some ways that you could use the power of positive thinking to improve different facets of your life.

The Power of Positive Thinking in your Professional Life

Negative thinking or low self-esteem can have a chilling effect on career advancement. You’d like to see your job prospects shoot ahead like a Ferrari, but your doubts and fears keep putting on the brakes. So instead of climbing a ladder that leads up to your highest aspirations, you begin to “live down” to the lower expectations you have for yourself.

Practically, this might manifest itself in several ways. For example, imagine that you’ve gone into your boss’s office to ask for a raise but you’re weighed down by your own negativity. You’re nervous and unsure about whether you even deserve a raise. Also, you wonder whether you wore the right clothes for this type of meeting, and you worry about your posture and whether to cross your legs. All these concerns further exacerbate the problem by becoming distractions that keep you from fully concentrating on the interview.

How could things have gone differently? Well, a lot of it has to do with preparation: thinking about what you want to say, choosing the right outfit the night before, getting enough sleep, eating a good breakfast, etc. All of this is about preparing yourself to perform at your very best.

And along with these more practical preparations, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Visualize yourself sitting with your boss, presenting a persuasive and compelling argument for why you should receive the raise. See yourself talking and listening during the meeting, coming across as capable and confident. As you imagine all this, fully expect that what you are envisioning will come to fruition.

If you can prepare yourself well, in terms of both the practical and the mental aspects of the interview, you’ll be ready to step through that office door brimming with confidence and belief in yourself. Those around you will pick up on this, and you will have immeasurably increased your chances of getting the raise.

The Power of Positive Thinking in your Social Life

The same concept applies to the way you interact with people you spend time with or date. A negative self-concept can be overpowering and sabotage your attempts to be with the people you want to spend time with. When you’re operating from self-doubt and insecurity about your worthiness when it comes to fitting into certain social circles or going out with certain people, then that’s going to keep you from achieving what you’d like to achieve socially. Insecurity and desperation are never going to help you when it comes to creating the kinds of friendships and dating relationships you desire.

If any of this sounds familiar, it may be the case that your social life needs the kind of positive “shot in the arm” we were just talking about in relation to your professional life. Whether it’s a person you’d like to develop a new friendship with or someone you’re hoping to date, positive thinking can make all the difference in the world.

And once again, preparation is a big part of your ability to remain positive. In order to make a good impression on this person, get yourself ready beforehand. Remove any obstacles that will keep you from focusing on putting your best foot forward. Decide what you’re going to wear and how you want to come across. You might even be ready with a conversation topic and a funny story. Then, having prepared well, envision yourself talking with the person and showing the best you. See yourself being interesting and fun, natural and confident. What all that preparation means is that when the conversation begins or you arrive for the date, you can completely relax and let your preparation, coupled with your positive outlook, pay off.

The Power of Positive Thinking in your Individual Life

Positive thinking has the power to help you not only professionally and socially, but also personally. For many of us, fears and negative emotions can become a crippling force that chips away at virtually everything we want to do in life. If we constantly criticize ourselves, it will be difficult to achieve any kind of sustained success in any area of life. Studies have shown repeatedly that the way people label themselves and talk to themselves has a huge effect on who they are and who they become.

So as you go through your day-to-day routines, pay attention to your self-talk. Rather than constantly repeating discouraging and critical phrases to yourself, do your best to be positive. Instead of saying, “I’m not disciplined enough to exercise,” say, “I’ll plan out a realistic strategy and stick to my plan.” Instead of saying, “That was so stupid of me to break that plate,” tell yourself, “That’s no big deal. Everyone drops things from time to time.”

Then take it a step further. Go beyond merely trying to avoid being negative about yourself, and start praising yourself for things you do well. There’s nothing wrong with congratulating yourself when, for example, you visit a sick friend or hit a home run at a big business meeting or write something in your journal that’s actually pretty good. And as we talked about before, put visualization to work for you. See yourself as a happy, competent, compassionate, loving person who generally and genuinely enjoys life.

None of this means that you have to deny reality or ignore things about your life that aren’t exactly as you’d like them to be. The power of positive thinking is about believing that you, and your life, can develop into something that’s as exciting and meaningful as possible, then taking steps toward making that happen.

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