Positive + Attitude = Positude


The idea of keeping a positive outlook in life also is neither new nor groundbreaking. This made up word "Positude" isn't therefore anything special. Yet the realization that a big chunk of my happiness in life depends on the perspective I assume, was a big game changer for me. 

You can absolutely positively train your brain to be happier. Just like you can workout and train your heart and muscles to be stronger, you can do things to train yourself to think more positively and optimistically

I'd like to explain first what I mean by perspective. Let's think of i) an existing circumstance of your life and ii) an incident that might occur unexpectedly. Thinking of your professional life, your "day-to-day work" could be your existing circumstance and a failed promotion, for example, could be that disruptive incident.

In my own case, there was a period at work where I was slightly bored with what I was doing and didn't feel as challenged as I was hoping to be. Work had therefore become more of a "must do" than "want do". After some time, I realized that this condition was really bothering me and contributing to a troubled state of mind. At some point, I then decided to change my perspective on what I was doing day in, day out. Here is a message I had sent to a friend:

I decided to change my view on work. I'm not going to work anymore. I'm going to hang out with my friends ... at a really cool place where we have lots of fun ... and we are doing awesome things like changing the world and stuff. Now that's something that will get me out of bed every morning.

That was quite the opposite to how I felt about work during that period, but it helped me tremendously to become engaged and get excited again. Another example, this time for the case of an unexpected incident, was about a year ago when I was expecting an early promotion at work but didn't get it in the end. I was fairly certain it would happen, which made it quite a disruptive event. Here again, my initial reaction was strong disappointment, but it didn't take me much time to deliberately decide to interpret it as something positive as opposed to being something negative. Here an excerpt from an Email I sent to my manager the day after: 

...needless to say, I'm quite disappointed that it didn't work out. I know you tried your best, so let me definitely thank you for that. That said, I'm starting to believe this is actually a good thing in disguise. Having to wait for the next promotion cycle will give me more time to figure out what I really want to do as my next step as opposed to rushing things now (because I really don't have a clue at this point)...

These were just two examples from my own professional life where I tried to simply change my perspective with regards to i) a circumstance of my life and ii) a disruptive event that was unexpected. In both cases, this positude-thinking helped me regain my motivation and to not let my frustration keep me from moving ahead.  

In summary, positude-thinking can be as simple as changing your perspective and thus set yourself up for happiness.... BUT, as simple as it might sound, it is actually not that simple at all. One can't just change a perspective from one second to the next - of if they can, they can't maintain it for too long. There are many other aspects and concepts that you need to master in order to successfully apply the Positude to any situation in your life.

Two of the concepts that I'd like to mention now briefly but plan to talk more about in future are A) "Fake it till you believe it" and B) the notion of "Embracement". 

Fake it till you believe it is basically the idea that you tell yourself something so frequently and firmly, that you actually end up believing it. I consider that a malfunctioning of the brain that can be used in our own favor. Placebos for example have demonstrated that we can indeed trick our brain to believe things that don't exist. 

The notion of embracement is based on the idea that certain things in our life are outside of our reach that can't be changed by us. Stoic calm for example says that one shouldn't be influenced by things one can't influence. My case of a failed promotion is a perfect example of a situation that I wasn't able to influence and thus simply had to embrace as it was. I once shared the following message with some of my friends that - I think - nicely summarizes the importance of embracement: 

Once you are truly able to embrace a situation, you are able to process it. And once you are able to process it, you can learn from it and take advantage of it. And I think that's one of the many components that adds to happiness, namely the ability to adapt to the situations we encounter and to make the best of whatever is being put in front of us.