• Eve Arnold

Positive (or Negative) Thinking is a Habit


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Despite what you might think, positive or negative thinking is a habit.

I’ve just listened to Marcia Kilgore on the How I Built This podcast.

For those of your that don’t know, Kilgore is the founder of Soap and Glory. She is a serial entrepreneur having founded multiple companies over the years including Bliss, Fitflop, Soaper Duper and Beauty Pie.

I didn’t know much about Kilgore before listening to the podcast and to be honest it wasn’t her entrepreneurial endeavours that I was most drawn to (although they are totally incredible). I was much more intrigued by her positivity.

Guy Raz, the host of the podcast, asked her a question at the end from a listener. Something that I wondered as she spoke. It was something along the lines of:

How do you stay so positive, how do I bottle up that energy of yours?

To which Kilgore answered.

It’s a habit.

We Are In Control, Positive or Negative Thinking is a Habit

And that got me thinking.

We do choose whether to have a bad day or a good day. I know, I know, you wake up in a bad mood and you feel utterly inconsolable as if it isn’t your fault at all and it’s not even remotely within your control. But the truth is, if you really want it to be, it is.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

And it’s true isn’t it. If it’s a sunny day, you’ve got nothing but time and your floating through your day without a care in the world, we deem it a good day. Conversely, if you’re rushed, you’ve got a meeting in ten minutes and you’ve not managed to have breakfast yet, we can easily write off the day. Although elements of the day are all the same. We still wake up, we still have 24 hours, we are still in control of our own emotions. I always think it is totally curious how we consider our life. We determine whether we are happy or sad. We determine our path and what we spend our time doing. It is then pretty curious that we choose to think negatively about things.

But we do because it’s a habit. Positive or negative thinking is a habit.

We get into habits without really knowing it. Starting a conversation about how bad something is, instead of how good something is. Thinking that the day is doomed before it even began because you are in a bad mood.

But the truth is, we are totally in control. You are the person deciding if you are in a bad mood.

No one comes along and says “today Eve, you’re going to be in a bad mood”.

It’s me. It’s all me. And it’s all you.

We get to choose, so what do you choose

We can literally have a good day by thinking we are. If I reflect on my day today, I can think about the great things that happened. The sun. The morning walk with the dogs. The soft breeze. That I managed to write 2 articles that I was madly passionate about. That I have a home, I had toast for breakfast (and what a great breakfast toast is). There are a hundred good things that happened today.

Or I can think about the bad things. Like the fact that the pots didn’t get washed yet. It was so hot I couldn’t sit outside. I’ve not done my cycle for the day and probably won’t. The garden still needs 101 things doing to it.

I can reflect and pick whatever I want. And so can you. Why wouldn’t we pick the good stuff?

Decision points

There are prompts or points in the day that induce negativity. Last minute meetings, out of the blue phone calls, emails going astray, some bad feedback you weren’t expecting. Whatever it is, there are points that could get you to indulge in your negativity. And don’t for one second think that I don’t think it’s healthy to get royally racked off if you are wound up about a situation. I love a good rant. Who doesn’t?

However, there are stress points in the day that will test you. It’s an opportunity to prove your choice. You can choose to get wound up. You can choose to get pissed off that the meeting has been thrown in last minute and you have no idea what it’s about. Or you can choose to be intrigued by it. You choose to be on the defensive about the phone call out of the blue or you can see it as a chance to impress, a chance to show off what you’ve been doing and your thoughts.

To be honest, some of this comes down to confidence. Although that is a choice too.

Positive or negative thinking is a habit.

We are the sum total of our positive or negative habits or rather, our choices

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.” — Stephen Covey

We are in total control. Definitely not of the world around us. However we are in control of our internal world. Our thoughts, feelings, aspirations, desires, wishes. We are our own creative force. The creative force.

By repeating positivity it’ll become a habit. Equally by repeating negativity it’ll become a habit. We are what we do.

By choosing to see the good in the bad you will become accustomed to doing it always. Similarly by choosing to think good things of people over bad is a habit. Assuming that someone is a douchebag because of their life circumstances and their own frustrations is a choice. If we chose to do it once we can repeat the process over and over. Once we’ve done that we are away.

Positive or Negative thinking is a Habit – Here’s Some Good Examples of Things to Make a Habit of

  1. Choosing to decide that someone is a douchebag because of what’s going on in their own life, not as a reflection of you.

  2. Treating questions as someone trying to discover something over someone trying to grill you.

  3. Thinking of undone tasks as an opportunity to improve not a list of things to be mad at yourself about.

  4. Not hitting your goals as room for improvement not as evidence that you are a failure doomed to go nowhere in life.

We are the sum total of our habits. Our habits are the cornerstones of our lives. We can choose to have a great or a shitty one. It’s a habit.

Have a little look at my other articles 🙂

#PersonalDevelopment #Growth #Life #LifeLessons #Habits

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