As an entrepreneur, one of my most important keys to success is staying positive – especially when facing the inevitable obstacles of running a business.
People often ask, “How can you be so happy?” Because I choose to be. We all have lives full of complexities and trials. Why dwell on them? Dwelling on negativity or the people who dish it out does not bear any fruit. I prefer to adopt a positive attitude that powers me through the rough patches of life. Adopting this kind of perspective has the potential to enhance your life and your work.
According to the latest research, optimistic people are healthier and live longer than pessimists. In 2010, researchers studied the results of 83 studies measuring the impact optimism has on physical health. Optimists had better results when it came to overall longevity, survival from disease and pain tolerance. Additionally, a Yale study indicates a positive attitude helps keep your heart pumping an additional 7.6 years on average.
Here are five ideas for achieving a positive state of mind – with some added inspiration from beloved and revered American leaders:
1. Find your inner bliss.
“We need joy as we need air.” –Maya Angelou, renowned author, poet, and civil rights activist
I believe this wholeheartedly. Joy is a necessity and fundamental to our wellbeing. Look inside. Reflect on what makes you happy, what propels you. Maybe it’s travel, family, or a hobby. Whatever it is, following your inner compass is the first step to a strong mental outlook. Doing what you love fuels you, puts you in a positive frame of mind, and allows you to live a meaningful life.
2. Manage your stress effectively.
“It’s not the load that breaks you, it’s the way you carry it.” — Lou Holtz, former college football coach and current sports analyst and motivational speaker
Stress wreaks havoc on every aspect of your life; how you carry it can literally make or break you. Take note, Millennials, because, according to the American Psychological Association, you have it the worst. On a 10-point scale, Americans age 18-33 report an average stress level of 5.4 compared to the national average of 4.9. These numbers are too high.
Strategies to relieve stress are different for everyone. Some people exercise or read; others paint or listen to music. Meditation is popular, and for good reason. A University of California, Davis study suggests focusing on the present may actually lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. An attitude of gratitude is also found to reduce stress by focusing on what we have instead of what we don’t.
Finally, sometimes we just need to heed the advice from the popular movie Frozen and simply “let it go.” Managing and letting go of stress will change your life.
3. Stay motivated.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going…it’s as simple as that.” —Earl Nightingale, personal development pioneer and radio legend
So true. You have to know where you are going – and then stay the course. Staying motivated can be hard at times. Really hard. But keep a “no quit” attitude. Remember why you started, know where you are going, and stay laser-focused on the prize.
Success is like running a marathon; it takes time, persistence, and mental training. Believe in yourself and remember you are capable of great things. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before perfecting the light bulb. While this example may be extreme, my message is don’t give up and success will follow.
4. Brace for anything, including the good.
“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” — Mark Twain, author and literary icon
Twain got it right; we cannot predict life. Bad things will happen, so be mentally prepared. Keep an open mind and don’t let anything knock you down. If it does, get back up. You will experience obstacles and you will make mistakes. Accept this, be ready, and move on.
On the flip side, good things happen, too. Life will surprise you in wonderful ways – sometimes when you least expect it. Be ready to embrace and enjoy these experiences all the same.
5. Build a confidant’s network.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker
That’s a powerful statement – and one that I buy into completely. I am a huge believer in the power of a high-quality network. In this case, however, choose carefully, because the company you keep literally shapes you. Think about a few people whom you admire and can really rely on – who bring out the best in you, push you higher, and give off good energy.
Consider confiding in a close friend, hiring a work or life coach, or finding a mentor. Having a circle of confidants helps ensure you have the support you need along the way. Curate your network regularly to ensure the highest quality people are in your circle.
Many traits matter when it comes to achieving happiness and success in work and life – skills, knowledge, and hard work – but I’ve found that a positive mindset underscores it all. Here’s to a fresh perspective and healthy state of mind starting now!