Science has already proven that positive thinking begets positive things happening. The good news is that, as entrepreneurs, we're natural optimists: There is no way Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson would have created their companies if they really understood the odds (though Musk might).
The bad news is that we are under an inordinate amount of stress that other businesspeople are not, whether it be how to pay our employees (or ourselves), feeling guilty about actually taking a needed rest, or respecting that we might not know our next move. We actually need more help to stay positive than the average career-focused individuals.
Positivity psychologist and GoodThink founder Shawn Achor has a nice 12-minute TED talk that's definitely worth your time. He talks about his own discovery of the power of positive thinking. The big takeaway, though, is a 5-step daily process to positive thinking.
- Write down three gratitudes: What are you grateful for? He recommends writing down at least three things that you appreciate in your life. As discussed in previous columns, research shows gratitude makes you believe that positive opportunities will come your way - and that makes you more likely to see great opportunities in the future.
- Write your thoughts in a journal: It can be a simple as recapping what worked and didn't work within your day. Achor found that, when he looked back at previous journal entries, he was reminded of how far he had come. In the daily grind, it is often difficult to realize the progress we've made, making us less likely to celebrate victories since we don't recognize them.
- Exercise: Getting the body moving gets out of our heads, which is particularly crucial today as we rely more on sedentary work and mobile communication. My movement of choice is walking, the pick of many notable entrepreneurs. It is important that you find the right physical exercise to get you feeling level
- Meditate: Meditation does have specific scientific health benefits, but you don't have to specifically meditate to get a clear, centered mind. Meditation can help quiet your anxious thoughts - so if mediation isn't your thing, consider creating silent periods of time during the day.
- Do random acts of kindness: Achor's last tip may sound cliché, but helping others has a wonderful side effect: If you have enough time, energy or resources to help another, then you will believe you have enough time, energy or resources in your life.