January 9, 2019

The Power of Positive Thinking to Advance Your Career

Hand drawing unhappy and happy smileys on blackboard
The Power of Positive Thinking: Using Positive Thoughts to Advance Your Career

If you are looking to advance your career, you will definitely want to consider the power of positive thinking. While it may sound hokey at first, adopting a positive frame of mind can have a real impact on your potential for success. Actively working towards positive thoughts in your everyday interactions with yourself and with others can improve your confidence, strengthen your relationships, and lead you to your life’s goals.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking involves a mental attitude that expects good and promising results. Incorporating positive thinking into your mind and your life can lead to a great deal of benefits because it can transform positive energy into reality.

You may not think of yourself as a positive or a negative person—you’re a realist. While that may be the case, even realists can get bogged down by a negative train of thought. Harnessing the power of positive thinking retrains your brain to consider a positive outcome and then truly believe that that outcome will come true.

The problem with negativity

Negative thoughts are incredibly limiting. Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” If you don’t think you can land a sale, you won’t. If you don’t think you can advance to your dream job, you won’t. Negativity will make you overthink your interactions, your work, or your effort, and it will make you believe that none of it is cutting it. A negative mindset can also make you comfortable with failure, which certainly won’t do you any favors.

Negativity doesn’t let you see the forest for the trees. It narrows your thoughts, creating stress and a flight or fight response. It can make you fixate on a single problem without giving you the room to consider alternative possibilities. Learning how to counter negativity with positive thoughts is essential for maintaining an upwards career trajectory.

How to use the power of positive thinking

Thoughts create your reality. Harkening back to Henry Ford’s quote, if you believe you will land a sale, your confidence will shine through, and you are more likely to achieve that goal. Additionally, positivity doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people; it takes concerted effort to rewire your brain to think in this manner. Try the following actions in your day-to-day in order to reap the benefits of thinking positively.

  1. Increase your expectations. If you keep your expectations low, you won’t leave yourself much room for improvement. Raising your expectations can help you remember that your greatest days are ahead, not in the past. Positive thoughts will help you persist through the tough times.
  2. Journal. The power of a gratitude journal is overwhelming. Practicing gratitude—even on your worst days—can transform your life. Reflecting on how grateful you are for the things you have can reduce your resentment towards other people, thereby improving your self-esteem, and it can increase your mental strength, contributing to resilience in tough times.
  3. Schedule time to play. Remember all those times you spent as a kid creating, exploring, and experimenting? As an adult, it’s easy for this kind of time to get lost in the fold, with work, chores around the home, and running errands. But you should try to regularly schedule time dedicated to play. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all! Try out a new hobby or a craft, find a sport you enjoy, go for a hike in the woods, read an entertaining book, or something else—with other people or even by yourself. Play can decrease stress and offer something to look forward to, thus giving you more room for positive thoughts.
  4. Believe in your worth. Whether you are a salesperson, a marketer, or a ditch-digger, you have the right to stand up for yourself, follow your dreams, and be true to your morals.
  5. Take baby steps. Small daily acts toward your goals, in your career or otherwise, can help you build a solid base for progress. Fully using the power of positive thinking doesn’t happen in a day, especially if you are coming from years of having a negative mindset. Remember that some instances of self-doubt won’t completely set you back. Sometimes it can signal to you that you didn’t prepare well enough, that you need to get more information, or that you need to take a break.

The benefits of positive thinking

When you actively work towards a positive mindset, you will begin to experience more joy, contentment, and love in your life. Furthermore, the power of positive thinking has a tendency to create what some call an “upward spiral.” Like a downward spiral, which is associated with the slippery slope of negative thoughts, an upward spiral can provide the momentum for broadening your horizons and increasing your rate of success. Use the baby steps tactic that you learned about to help propel you into an upward spiral.

Another great benefit of positive thinking is that you will be able to handle feedback and conflict in a new way. If constructive criticism used to make you squirm, positive thoughts can help you reframe that feedback into a learning experience. The same can be said for conflict: you can create new pathways in your brain to handle additional setbacks or issues so you can approach conflicts with a level head.

While many people think that success is a result of work ethic, persistence, or drive, behind it all is the power of positive thinking. Few of the most successful people would be where they are today—whether elite athletes, CEOs, or business owners—without the positive mindset and confidence that they would eventually attain their goals. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones to start believing in yourself and believing in your own success. You will probably be surprised by difference positive thoughts can make.