“Sometimes the enemy that was hardest to fight was the one within yourself”. - Aimee Thurlo
Every day you are faced with a dilemma, i.e. you can either choose to have a positive outlook or a negative one on life.
No matter who you are, where you come from, or what stage you are at in your life, challenges and obstacles will keep presenting themselves.
The way you choose to look at them will make or break your life.
In other words, positive thinking is the roadmap to living life to the fullest, whereas negative thinking is the roadmap to living a miserable life.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results”. - Willie Nelson
The best way to stress how having a positive outlook is a game-changer is to tell you an enlightening story - The Two Wolves.
It is an ancient tale that has been part of the Native American tradition for generations.
It reminds you of the power you have over what you experience and over your emotions - depending on whether you feed your mind with positivity or negativity.
THE TWO WOLVES
Once upon a time, an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me”, he said to the boy.
Then, he went on: “It is a terrible battle and it is between two wolves.
One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued: “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, happiness, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight goes on inside of you and inside of everyone else too”.
The grandson pondered for a while, looked up at his grandfather, and asked: “Which wolf will win”?
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed”!
TWO LIFE LESSONS YOU CAN LEARN FROM THE STORY
1) WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR EMOTIONS
When we face challenges or tough life seasons, it is easy to behave like a victim.
We end up thinking to ourselves: “Why does everything happen to me? Life is unfair; people don’t care about me”.
It’s easy to let the setbacks everyone experiences dictate our thoughts, emotions, and in turn the outcomes we get.
When we adopt a victim mindset we blame external forces - whether they are people or events - for how we feel.
In other words, we look outward to try to make sense of what’s going on inside of us.
What does it mean?
It means that we give other people, circumstances, and events the power to determine how we feel.
As we look outside ourselves when it’s time to blame someone or something for how unlucky we are, so we do when we seek happiness.
Buying a brand new car, suit, watch, binge eating, and drinking are a few ways through which we think we can experience happiness.
Yet, the examples above bring about only instant gratification, instead of long-term true happiness.
Happiness is a state of being that comes from the quality of our thoughts.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
You hold an incredible power to change your life.
Here is the process that explains how the way you think dictates the outcomes you get.
- If you change the way you think, you will change the way you feel.
- If you change how you feel you will change your behavior.
- If your behavior changes, your actions change too.
- If you change your actions, you change your outcomes.
A POWERFUL TOOL TO HELP YOU DEVELOP POSITIVE THINKING
Being grateful is a way to appreciate what you have instead of craving for something new in the hope it will make you happy.
Furthermore, gratitude helps you focus your attention on the good stuff rather than on what bothers you.
In a nutshell, being grateful helps you develop positive thinking.
This mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
Training your brain to be positive is not different from training your muscles at the gym.
What do you need to do to grow your muscles?
You must do one workout after another for a prolonged period.
The more practice you give your brain at feeling and expressing gratitude, the more it adapts to this mindset, and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.
Harvard researcher and author Shawn Achor says:
"Something as simple as writing down three things you're grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months”.
So, what can you be grateful for today?
Write down three things you’re grateful for over 21 days in a row.
Make sure you note down three different things every day.
If you are persistent enough, after 21 days you’ll see how this simple exercise can positively affect your perspective and approach to life.
2) THE BATTLE IN THE STORY LASTS A LIFETIME - SO DOES YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
“My teacher Jim Rohn taught me a simple principle: every day, stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life. For they will shape whether you feel rich or poor, cursed or blessed”. - Tony Robbins
Don’t fool yourself by assuming that, if you think positively for a while, your life will be wonderful for good.
Persevering is necessary especially because our mind is hardwired to seek negativity.
Thousands of years ago it served a purpose, i.e. saving our life from life-threatening events.
Thus, if we are not aware of the thoughts that seep into our minds every day and don’t stand guard at the door of our minds, we are likely to end up focusing on what doesn’t work in our life.
The more aware you become, the easier it will be for you to shift from negativity to positivity.
Every morning when you get up make a conscious decision that you’ll feed your mind with positive thinking, that you’ll feed the good wolf.
No matter what's going on in your life, choose positivity over negativity - happiness over sadness.
Mastering our own emotions through positive thinking unlocks the ability to influence our current and future actions.
This results in us getting the outcomes we want and making the most out of our life.
We have no power over other people or events, yet, we can control how we respond to them.
We can choose to surrender to our envy, sorrow, and regret, by feeding the bad wolf, through negative thinking, or choose to surrender to our inner peace, joy, hope, and happiness by feeding the good wolf, through positive thinking.
Which wolf are you feeding?
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