When you have problems in your work or personal life, you're most likely inclined to first look at what's not working instead of what's working. This is human nature, looking for the negative aspects in things. Your mind is programmed this way. It immediately searches for the negative thoughts, words, and actions.

In fact, research studies have shown that there are more negative thoughts than positive ones in a person. According to these studies, 70% to 80% of the thoughts that an average person has during the course of a day are negative or simply nonsense.

Don't panic, there's help.

Looking at what's not working right comes very naturally to the majority of people. People tend to find out what's causing the problem and then come up with solutions to resolve it. There's nothing wrong with this approach. However, there are other ways that work extremely well with your natural instinct to fix things.

Here are two super positive and helpful approaches to solving problems that you can apply in your own life right now--and become happier and more successful as a result.

1. Focus on what is working right

Image that you're an athlete playing a team sport such as soccer. What would be the best way to learn about how to become a better player? You would probably analyze the games you lost, as well as the games you won. However, most of the time, you would focus only on the games that your team has lost. There's an alternative to this approach.

Focus on what's working well and duplicate those efforts. This doesn't imply that you'll ignore the things that aren't working well. Instead, you'll recognize that the way to solving problems by analyzing failures is only part of the solution.

When you start focusing on what's working well, you'll become more aware of the things that have helped you be successful in the past. Focus on the areas where you are doing extremely well and do more of that.

2. Capitalize on what's working right

People rarely study extraordinary results from the past--successful results that they can apply in their careers, and personally. At times, when people try to capitalize on what's going right and implement best practices, they face resistance with themselves, and with others too. This is more than normal. Take courage.

There are some areas in your life where things are working really well. Study those areas and see whether you can capitalize on that success in other areas. For example, you may be remarkably proactive about managing people, though you may not be as good at managing time.

Reflect on the reasons why you do so well at being remarkably proactive about managing people. You may say that you like to work with people. Now, what would happen if you applied the same attitude toward managing your time? Capitalize on the things that make you successful in one area by incorporating them into an area where you could do better.