October 2, 2010

Positivity – Is it a Choice? Overcome Negativity

Positivity... Is it a Choice? Overcome Negativity

If you consider yourself a negative thinker or your emotions bring you down, is it possible to change and overcome negativity? I've been studying personal development now for over a year and it's what this blog is all about. One of the resounding messages that have been very subtle but pervasive among great teachers (for example The 7 Habits author Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins, and other very notable experts) that I have picked up is that our emotions and how we act are completely separate — if we make that choice. In spite of feeling or thinking negatively, we can choose to act positively.

For instance, Stephen Covey talks about a gap existing between stimulus and response. That is, when stuff happens to us that is part 1 of a 3 step process. Part two of Covey's idea is that we consciously or subconsciously make a choice; and part 3 says that we ultimately react. Make a special note that there is a special between stimulus and response where we choose our behaviors.

What does this gap mean?

This beautiful choice we are faced with is what makes us different from other species on Earth. As Jim Rohn puts it, the goose can only fly south in the winter. Humans, on the other hand, can do whatever they choose. Whether you wake up feeling vibrant and full of life or sluggish and downtrodden you can choose how you want to react. In the past, I made the mistake of thinking this was easy, and figured that I should feel like doing an activity before starting that activity.

Since then, I have learned that despite feeling or thinking negatively, we can choose to overcome negativity and act positively. Inevitably, this will make us feel better. I'd also be willing to bet you will start thinking better as a result as well.

Why bother with motivation?

The idea of behaving according to how you feel seems to play a large part in many peoples' motivation. For instance, I would wager that most people attribute very successful people to largely being very motivated. However, the entire idea of motivation is a huge pitfall for many people.

Zig Ziglar is a personal achievement guru, plain and simple. I've heard him make a great point before that motivation follows the act. Zig Ziglar a guy who was an aimless wanderer and underachiever into his early to mid 40's. Around this time he completely turned his life around and ends up leading his sales force virtually overnight. How did this happen? I don't think it was because energy usually picks up in your mid 40s. Rather, he was able to change his life because somewhere in his mind he started thinking and choosing to behave differently.

Stimulus > Choice > Response

The strongest emotions can drastically change our lives, but the beautiful part is that you can dramatically change your life by your own freedom of choice, whether you're feeling like a "go-getter" or a "maybe-later" attitude.

We can act according to how we want to act even in the face of negative thoughts. The choice and power ultimately lies with each of us. We can choose to act against our negative thoughts and live a higher life. That is exactly what I hope you have the enjoyment of doing today and tomorrow and beyond!

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Reagan O. Knight said...

This is a really well-written post - I have always strongly believed in the principal of choosing to be positive or negative, and this very neatly outlines the process of stimulus - reaction - action.

I'd never really thought of it as a three-part system but that's a great way of looking at it. Also, if you look at it as a process with steps, it make you feel like you have more control over what's happening and how you react to situations :)

Thanks for a great post!

Friedhelm said...

Thank you Inspired Robin, to remind me of this very useful insight.

This in between step might be exactly the difference between a human being state and an animal state of life.

tzongyih said...

I feel so happy to read your sharing,
what I found is I'm lucky that I can choose to act or not to act, act with positive and negative.

At the other hand, I understand why I act positively eventhough i'm in negative feeling.

Thanks for your sharing,
great one.

Inspired Robin said...

Reagan O. Knight, thank you for visiting and commenting on the blog. I do appreciate your time and effort to contribute.

As for the 3 step process, I think it will open your mind to entirely new possibilities. For me, considering in situations that I can choose how I want to respond is so much more empowering than simply reacting. Zig Ziglar is big on reaction vs. responding as well now that I think of it.

Inspired Robin said...

Friedhelm... you hit the nail on the head! This in-between point is such a powerful option if we exercise it. I encourage you and everyone else who reads my self improvement blog to try it out!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Robert S. Tipton said...

Thanks for the reminder about "positivity" as being our choice! It's also something that Eckhart Tolle talks about in "A New Earth." He describes it this way -- there are three points where we can influence our choices.

1) "After" we have done things the same old way, and have realized we once again chose to be negative.
2) "During" the middle of a situation, when we see ourselves being negative, and then we choose to change to positive.
3) "Before" we react as we normally would, we prevent ourselves from going down the negative path at all.

Anyway -- I use these principles extensively in my work, and our ability to choose from "all available possibilities" is a central theme in my book about life breakthroughs.

Thank you!
Robert S. Tipton, Author, JUMP! - Get Unstuck (http://www.OurJUMP.com)

Gary Simpson said...

Hi Robin,

I came here via the Warrior Forum. Nice blog and some good comments.

I liked what you said here:

"I have learned that despite feeling or thinking negatively, we can choose to overcome negativity and act positively."

That is true but it takes a LOT of training. It's most easily done via affirmations (to cancel out all the negative junk thrown at us daily by ALL forms of media. They all trade in bad news and it's fired at us continuously from all angles - ALL the time)

You listed a book above by Shad Helmstetter - that is one of my favorite books and I have a VAST self help library. It's simply brilliant and I would encourage everybody who comes here to read it - actually... STUDY it!

Best Wishes

Gary Simpson

Inspired Robin said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and contributing Gary.

I've only been studying personal development for a fraction of the time of some of the experts out there. But there is one thing that I am sure of: Whatever is going into you is going to be a major determinant in what comes out of you.

Resources like Shad Helmstetter's "What to Say When You Talk to Your Self" are some of the "magic" that help us see that we can be more. The media would have us believe the world is mostly full of trash. Thus, some of us may be less likely to care enough to do better.

Like Zig Ziglar would happily point out, we've got to surround ourselves with the good, the clean, and the uplifting so that they can help pull us up to higher ground with them.

Thanks again for sharing Gary.

Emma said...

I believe that I have come across this post at the right time. I'm going through a depression on hearing one of my dear ones is suffering from a very serious illness. Not even able to concentrate on my work as such.

On reading this post, I feel charged and need to get rid of all my negative thoughts and face reality boldly. Thanks Robin for all the motivation.

Inspired Robin said...

Wow Emma. Those are powerful words and you have moved me. Sharing on this site to help other people with their lives is my goal. Keep up the good fight and congratulations on being proactive with your challenges.

Thank you for sharing with us and me.

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