He sees change as painful, while she views change as a growth opportunity.

She sees a closed door, while he chooses to find the key to unlock the door.

The difference between these individuals is their mindsets. 

One person has a negative attitude, while the other has a positive mindset open to opportunity.

A positive mindset refers to thinking the best even when facing problems. A positive attitude doesn't mean viewing problems lightly. But, individuals with a positive mindset expect things to turn out for the best when facing obstacles.

A positive mindset is a choice. What are you going to choose?

Characteristics of a positive mindset.

Individuals with a positive mindset tend to display the following characteristics. 

  • Optimism is expecting the best possible outcome from any given endeavour or situation and is essential to decision-making. An optimist expects that results will be positive, favourable, and desirable.
  •  Gratitude is a heart-warming feeling of thankfulness towards the world and peopleā€”a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Individuals who feel gratitude are not in constant pursuit of more.
  • Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust quickly to hardship and adversity.
  • Acceptance is recognizing that the outcome isn't always what we expected or desired. We view failure as feedback and a learning opportunity.
  • Mindfulness is the ability to be wholly present in any situation without feeling overwhelmed or overreacting.
  • Integrity is being morally upright, honest, and trustworthy. It also involves being undivided in our loyalty to those who deserve it.
  • Intention is living with a clear purpose, goals, and direction in life. Living with intention means not wasting time on things that don't help to achieve your goals.
  • Clarity involves knowing your values and why those values are essential to your happiness and success. When you're clear about your values, it's easy to make decisions.

Examples of a positive mindset.

Joe C - sees opportunity instead of failure

Joe lost his job because of COVID-19. He's 52 years old; the age group hit hardest by the pandemic because it's much harder to find work at that age. But Joe didn't let his situation affect his mindset.

Instead, Joe saw losing his job as an opportunity to do something he had talked about but had never done, which was starting a consultancy. And that's what he did. 

Joe says: "I have always dreamed of using my experience, skills, and knowledge to start and run my own company. Losing my job because of the pandemic was a shock initially, but I quickly chose to use it as a new opportunity for my wife and me to embark on a new, thrilling adventure. I finally am fulfilling this long-desired dream of mine."

What do you notice about Joe's attitude? He says, "I quickly chose to use it as a new opportunity." 

He made a choice. Joe could have allowed himself to become downhearted, maybe even depressed, thinking, "Why me?" 

Or he could have chosen to update his CV and spend hours each day sending it out to prospective employers, which would have been a reasonable thing to do.

But Joe chose to use his situation as a "new opportunity" to do something he had dreamed of doing. 

Natalie P - every employer's dream

Natalie is the type of employee every company dreams of finding and hiring. Her teammates love her, and all of the leaders she has worked with praise her for her attitude. 

One manager said this about her, "When Natalie's in the office, she charges the atmosphere with her positive mindset and energy. There's nothing she's not willing to chip in and help with to get a job done. 

Anytime we face a big problem or obstacle to a project's progress, we bring Natalie into the conversation because of her ability to get everyone focused on finding the solution. She never points fingers or blames. She helps us all remember that mistakes are par for the course. 

She often reminds us, "no one's perfect. We all make mistakes. We've all learned something from this and now let's focus on solving the issue at hand. We love having her on our team and in our organization."

Do you see the characteristics of a positive mindset that Natalie displays?

Activity: Write down how Joe & Natalie display optimism, resilience, acceptance, intention, integrity, mindfulness, clarity, gratitude. How can you imitate them?

Why is a positive mindset necessary?

A positive mindset reduces stress and improves mental, emotional, and physical health. It's also important to developing and maintaining strong relationships in business and personal life.

The Mayo Clinic website lists the following benefits of having a positive mindset. 

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Reduced levels of distress
  • Resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Researchers aren't clear on why people with a positive mindset get those benefits. Still, one theory is that a positive attitude helps people deal effectively with stress, reducing its harm to the body.

Some researchers also think that individuals with a positive mindset live healthier by getting more physical exercise, eating better, avoiding smoking, and drinking less alcohol.

Develop a positive mindset

Do you tend to view change as painful or as an opportunity for growth? 

When you find a closed door, do you give up or look for the key to opening it?

Remember, a positive mindset is a choice you can make. If you're the type of person who leans towards a negative attitude, you're not going to become an optimist overnight.

But you can start right now to look at problems and challenges from a positive angle. You can choose to be less critical of the people and world around you. 

Developing a positive mindset requires a conscious choice and practice. And the benefits are significant as you begin handling stressful situations more effectively and experience the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits of a positive mindset. 

I would appreciate hearing from you on this topic. Do you tend to have a positive mindset or a negative one? 

If you have a positive mindset, what do you do to maintain it?

If you tend to be a negative thinker, what will you do to begin the change to a positive attitude?

You'll probably find this article interesting, too: "5 Reasons You Should Start Practicing Niksen."

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