February 23, 2015
During my teenage years, while still in high school, I began to doubt myself. A person going through the adolescent stage would undergo immense changes in almost everything and I was no exception. The most significant effect of change was in my thinking. I doubted my ability to understand and study, my capacity to grasp and then remember what I had taken in - a cloud of negative thoughts encircled me and this so called cancer began to slowly spread to everything I did. The worst feeling was in the mornings - the moment I woke up, the very first thoughts being of a negative nature ruined my whole day. I tried to seek solutions from everyone, everywhere and the answers I got had no bearing whatsoever. This is where I realised if you cannot take control of yourself, no one else can get it done for you. Being a member of the Central Library on Light House Hill, Mangaluru, I had the fortune of placing my hands on many bestsellers concerning the subject ‘positive thinking.’ Gradually, putting into practice some of the selected exercises jotted in those books that moulded my thinking, in a year or so, I got a hold of myself by crushing the negative thoughts to emerge victorious. In this piece of writing, I have followed a simple approach by expanding the alphabet POSITIVE to try and make you comprehend the best ‘positive thinking’ can bring and emerge as a winner.
Things do not grow better; they remain as they are. It is we who grow better, by the changes
we make in ourselves - Swami Vivekananda
P – Praising and inspiring Yourself:
There were three brothers in Kundapur, now in Udupi district, whose parents were Doctors. Naturally, the parents wanted all their three sons to become Doctors as well, for that was the only noble profession they believed in. Out of the three, one was academically brilliant, passed his SSLC with a distinction in his first attempt, while the second one scraped through and the third one barely cleared it in his third attempt. Later in life, they all became qualified Doctors. In professional life however, the academically brilliant person was a disaster as most of the Surgeries he performed turned out to be a failure, the second sibling was mediocre. The person who sat thrice to clear his SSLC exams was the one who excelled and was a much sought after Orthopaedic Surgeon in Mangaluru.
Never under-estimate yourself! You are the most important thing in the Universe. The intelligence level of each one of us is almost the same, though the grasping capacity may differ. Some reach their goal fairly easily and some by sheer hard work attain the same level. Each one of us is unique with a set of talents and no one else can take our place and this is a beauty in itself. Remember, even the finger prints of identical twins are not alike. Always give yourself words that will motivate and encourage you. Praise and inspire yourself, no one can do that for you and you will be astonished what results can bring. ‘When your ship comes home, you hear so many people say - vaguely hoping something good will come along someday … don’t stand idly on the quayside weaving fairy schemes - take a boat and row right out to meet your ship of dreams.’
O – Overlooking worrying circumstances:
“There is a dragon inside me, bewildered, puzzled and confused, snoring all day. There is a dragon inside me … fearless, brave and bold, spitting fire. There is a dragon inside me … miserable, wretched and depressed, ashamed of showing himself. There is a dragon inside me… clumsy, unwieldy and ungainly tripping himself up.” These arguments summarise a person filled with worry, obviously inundated with negative thoughts. It also shows us what a strange mixture of things are inside him - good, bad, hard to understand and control.
We had a Baby Shower in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, our previous abode when my wife Anita was expecting our first child. In the gathering, young mothers took turns to describe her in detail the horror they went through during delivery of their child. From beginning to end, their talks were filled with negativity and strangely enough there seemed to be no one with a positive experience. My better-half was giving a patient ear to all and I was a bit concerned the affect it would have on her. After everyone had left, we had a chat as to whether she was bothered about the scary stories she had just heard. The answer I got was amazing. ‘They have narrated their experiences probably exaggerating it. It does not really matter as ultimately I have to deliver my own child and they are not going to do that for me.’ Moving forward, it was a smooth positive experience in the British managed Corniche Maternity Hospital.
The concealed, unconquerable power to repel any circumstance, any fate is within us. The tendency to brood and fret has never solved any problems and worry being a rocking chair has never taken anyone of us anywhere. Stopping negative thinking should be the motto, worrying is vicious - get rid of it in toto; Thinking when thoughtful, is useful … thinking when wishful, is harmful! The only way you will overcome your worrying circumstances is filling yourself with positive thoughts and going about it.
The will must be stronger than the skill. 'I am the greatest'. I said that, even before I knew I was
- Muhammad Ali
S – Stop murmuring and complaining:
We grumble about the heat and humidity all day and solemnly repeat our complaints all the way. Yet in the Continents are disastrous rain … masses huddle in tents, washed out houses and plains. Children facing war - no basic necessities, nor food, we are better off by far. So why brood? We own luxuries, have nourishment and health. Air-conditioning, TVs these count for wealth. Think of those living in conditions far worse than hell!
“How delightful is the company of generous people, who overlook trifles and keep their minds instinctively fixed on whatever is good and positive in the world about them. People of small caliber are always complaining. They are bent on showing their own superiority, their knowledge or prowess or good breeding. But magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealousy and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And, what is more, they find it everywhere” (Quoted from US writer Van Wyek Brooks).
It’s madness to hate all roses because you got scratched by one thorn; To give up all your dreams because one didn’t come true; To lose faith in prayers because one was not answered; To give up on your efforts because one of them failed; To condemn all your friends because one betrayed you; Not to believe in love because someone was unfaithful or didn’t love you back; Remember that another chance may come up - a new job, a new friend, a new life. Never give up!
Don’t give up and say that it’s the end. Often at a time of crisis matters start to mend … it seems we have to reach a certain point before we see - the way out of the troubles and adversity. Stop murmuring and complaining and greet life ahead!
I – Improving your Self-esteem:
Experiences in a person's life are a major source of self-esteem development. The positive or negative life experiences one has, creates attitudes toward the self which can be favourable and develop positive feelings of self-worth, or can be unfavourable and develop negative feelings of self-worth.
Many a time for many a people life becomes a role to play. Roles are played by actors who are cut and trim to suit a setting. What rules their life is the consistency and apprehension of the credibility of a strength they derive from outside. When the curtain falls, they are in the dark. They perform for just a while. Their hearts and minds are like the allies over which moonlight never shines. So - make the setting to suit you!
Dr. John Grohol, author, researcher and expert in mental health online opines: Boiled down to its simplicity, self-esteem simply means appreciating yourself for who you are - faults, foibles and all. People with a good and healthy self-esteem are able to feel good about them, as they are, appreciate their own worth and take pride in their abilities and accomplishments. They also acknowledge that while they’re not perfect and have faults, those faults don’t play an overwhelming or irrationally large role in their lives or their own self-image. His tips to progress: i) Take a self-esteem Inventory. ii) Set realistic expectations. iii) Set aside perfection and grab a hold of accomplishments and mistakes. iv) Explore yourself. v) Be willing to adjust your own self-image. vi) Stop comparing yourself to others. He goes on to add that changing your self-esteem takes time, trial-and-error and patience on one’s part. Making an effort to be fairer and more realistic with your own self will bring good results of positive nature.
There is nothing either good or bad in this world, but thinking makes it so
- William Shakespeare
T – Trust in Yourself:
There is another element in winning victory by positive thinking and that is the element of trust or belief. ‘Believe you can, and you can.’ Belief is one of the most powerful of all problem dissolvers. When you believe that a difficulty can be overcome, you are more than halfway to victory over it already. One of the greatest of all principals is that men or women can do what they think they can do.
Analyse this timeline: 1831 - Failed in business: bankruptcy; 1832 - Defeated for Legislature; 1834 - Failed again in business: bankruptcy; 1835 - Sweet heart: fiancé passes away; 1836 - Nervous breakdown; 1838 - Defeated in election; 1843 - Defeated for US Congress; 1846 - Defeated again for US Congress; 1848 - Defeated once again for US Congress; 1855 - Defeated for US Senate; 1856 - Defeated for US Vice-President; 1858 - Defeated again for US Senate; 1860 - Elected President of USA. The Individual was Abraham Lincoln, rated in a survey conducted in January 2010, as the second greatest American President of all times only behind Franklin D. Roosevelt and ahead of George Washington out of 40 men who have held the highest office since 1789 in the polls of 47 academics specialising in American history.
Things will come to those who wait, if you trust and believe in yourself. When you think that everything is finished, think again. There is always something left. Some vestige must remain of what you once believed you were and once again can be: one who has the gift of fighting back courageously. When it seems you’ve failed in life don’t put your tools away. You will need them yet for there will surely come a day - when you want to set to work to make your world anew. Next time you’ll be stronger and wiser too. When you feel you’ve failed and lost the best of everything - another chance is given and your heart begins to sing. Do not miss the moment. Use the powers that you possess - to build upon the ruins, turning failure to success!
I – Inflow of new thoughts:
Consider these positive sentences. I am thankful - For the spouse who snores all night because he/she is at home asleep with me and not somewhere else; For my teenage daughter who is complaining about doing dishes because that means she is with me and not on the streets; For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed; For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends; For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means that I have enough to eat; For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine; For a floor that needs mopping and windows that need cleaning because it means I have a home; For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that we have freedom of speech; For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation; For the noise I have to bear from my neighbours because it means that I can hear; For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear; For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard; For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive; and finally for the innumerable Emails/WhatsApp messages because I have friends who are thinking of me!
The influx of new thoughts that are positive may remake you. Just going through the thoughts of gratefulness mentioned above which you thought never counted in your life may have filled you with renewed vigour. You can complete the exercise by adding your own to the list, being thankful for what you possess - both big and small. Think good of yourself and think good of others and things around you and then realise how those inflow of new thoughts rejuvenate you. Try to keep a positive journal whereby you can go on adding ‘positive thoughts’ and make it a point to go through it every day.
Take time for what’s important to you, for what makes you happiest. Take time to accumulate positive thoughts and share your deepest wish, most sweet dreams, your favourite fantasy. Take time to look around at all the gladness, the world can offer. All of it is yours if only you take the time. There really is a time and a place for everything … if only you take out TIME!!
Aim for the moon and if you miss, you will at least land on the stars
- Norman Vincent Peale
V - Value Prayer power:
A lady having three kids whom I knew in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates used to dread newspaper reports of children losing their lives or getting seriously injured after accidentally falling from high rise buildings. Living on the 18th floor of a building in downtown city herself, she used to get so worried about her own kids if she could not see them around for a couple of minutes or if they were reaching late from school, so much so she began to have nightmares. In search of peaceful sleep, one late evening she decided to keep her pocket Bible under her pillow and having woken up in the middle of the night reaching and randomly opening a page of her Bible, she found this sentence that read: ‘Do you grow any taller by worrying any longer?’ and in her own words that powerful verse comforted her and took care of her anxiety ever since.
You can try this prayer power. It may reveal and unlock the much required answer to come out of your quandary. Be it the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran, the Bible, the Tipitaka, the Guru Granth Sahib - all religions of the world teaches us what is virtuous, the religion of God. By the study of different faiths, we may find that in essence they are similar. Mahatma Gandhi had once said ‘The soul of religion is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms.’
We do not always see the way ahead. We do not always know which path to tread. This is the point at which we need to light the lamp of faith to take into the night. Trust and believe that God is leading you to a fulfilment hidden from your view. Know only good can come of what is planned, under the shadow of that guiding hand. It is not always granted for us to see, what lies behind the present mystery. Waste not words in asking why or where? Time will unfold the answer to your Prayer.
E – Essence of Happiness:
Are you trying to adopt attitudes and tastes which you think society demands? In which case, it may often go unfulfilled. Try to realise that happiness comes from within. Take a more relaxed view of life and express your own opinions more. Then, you will truly begin to feel content. American actress Doris Day laments ‘Many people are unhappy because they are victims of their own envies and fears and hostilities. Unhappy, self-pitying, they put a premium on the unattainable, wanting always something that someone else has. Or they frighten themselves reading about some new horror; they stop living today because they are terrified of tomorrow. These people are their own victims.’
Simple happiness in modest terms can be reflected in the excerpts of this letter from an expatriate published in the late nineties by English daily ‘Khaleej Times’ of the United Arab Emirates: “In the evenings, I liked to stroll along city streets, listening to Arabic music playing in small shops, talking with people, breathing in the aroma of perfume. I also loved walking in the desert sand. I tried to go everywhere and see everything. I was bewitched. Your country became a second motherland to me.”
“Be contended with your life, but not with how you live. Never rest content with what you do and what you give. Always go on trying to improve on yesterday - brightening the path for someone else along the way. Be happy and be satisfied with what you now possess - but never with yourself. Be ever ready to confess - your faults and failings. Grumble less and do a little more - to make yourself a wonderful person than you were before. Do not be too sure that all is right and well with you. Keep on checking up on all you think and say and do. Be contended even though you’ve found no lucky star. Be content with what you have, but not with what you are.”
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin!
- Mother Teresa
Half of the life is lost in sleeping,
Half of it in crying and weeping,
Life is too valuable to be lost …
Get it back by Positive Thinking!
We think, we feel, we act … simply by knowing our deep feelings and acting accordingly can lead to better understanding of life … and a better tomorrow! Life is like a garden where from year to year we sow seeds that in the changing course of time take root and grow. So, if seeds of positivity be scattered, there will always be … something good to gather from the flowers of memory.
Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you are going to live your life. A beautiful life does not just happen … it is built by positive thoughts. May a beautiful life be yours beginning today!
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