The Can-Do Attitude: A How-To

March 22, 2021

 

How exactly do you create a positive mindset? Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Tristan Goteng details his process.

 

When you pour water into a cup halfway, think of the glass as half-filled, rather than half-empty.

 

You may have heard that line told to you a few times over the years. I certainly hear it from many different people, during many different occasions. It always circles back to the idea of having a “positive” outlook or mindset on the task at hand. The phrase makes it seem so easy to do, but how does one actually think positively? And is it always beneficial? 

 

Everyone has something that they can improve on, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. It could be going to the gym to get fit, or finding your soulmate. Lately, I personally have set a goal for myself to work on: to go into any task, whether daunting or not, with a positive mindset. Why? Because anything you do becomes 10, or even 20 times better and more efficient when you are happy doing the job. I am just a grade 10 student, and I find that doing homework while feeling angry or reluctant to work makes time feel like a slow, dragging and straight-up awful experience. But when the subject is something I really enjoy, such as English class, I find that my productivity skyrockets, and I get my homework done in no time. The goal for me is to change the way I see my school subjects, and enjoy learning them all. I believe that this mentality can be applied to anything anybody does. There are many things a person can do to achieve this mindset, but I warn you there is no secret formula you can drink up to suddenly become the most productive, happy person in the world. The real key is consistency and determination. 

 

So where can you start? First thing’s first: you have to ask yourself, “Why am I wanting to shift my mindset to the ‘brighter’ side? Is it because I want to grow, improve, and enjoy life? Or is it so I can be more productive at work and get more things done?” Whatever the answer is, remember it. This is what drives you, and it is the foundation for your new good habit you are about to develop. If it isn’t strong enough – meaning, if your will to change isn’t very strong – this tower will fall, and your success in achieving this mindset will be far from reach. During this journey, whenever you might feel scared or unmotivated to keep going, remember why you are doing this, and it will help you push forward, past your fears, past your barriers and past your comfort zone.

 

The next thing that must happen is conscious reflection, and then self-comfort. During this stage, you have your task in front of you, but haven’t started yet. Before you begin, I want you to find a quiet place, if you can, and close your eyes. Think to yourself purposefully. “As I do this task, what positive benefits are there?” “Who is relying on me to complete this task?” “How will I feel after I complete this task?” Find those answers, and think about them. Then, comfort yourself. Think about good memories, your loved ones, friends, experiences. After, whisper or think to yourself some support. Say, “You can do this, I know you can.” “There are people rooting for you, even if you might not know who.” “Relax, this is going to be a good learning experience” “Look at the end of the tunnel! There are so many positive things coming out of this after you are done!” Finally, take a deep breath and open your eyes. Hopefully, you might even be smiling a bit too! Then go to your task, perhaps stretch a bit, and get working. Whenever you feel like not wanting to keep at it, take a small break, think of your memories, your reasons to work and the base of the structure you have built to remind yourself why you think positively.

 

It takes a lot of effort to consciously enjoy doing something you may not initially like – trust me, I experienced my fair share of that. But when you are done with the task, it is one of the most relieving and rewarding experiences. You can look back at the work and pat yourself on the shoulder. Congratulations, you stepped out of your comfort zone, and enjoyed something you used to dislike. The next step is to keep at it with the same mentality every time you have a job to complete.  

 

Is there any time where having a negative mindset is good? No! Of course not. But there is a difference between having a pessimistic view and understanding risks/negative outcomes. When you are pessimistic, you don’t want to do the task in front of you because you are tired or angry, or it seems too hard. In contrast, understanding risks involves avoiding activities where the risk outweighs the accomplishment. It might be a life-threatening experience that you aren’t ready for just yet. Or the most likely outcome will put your family in jeopardy. Every situation is different, and I support looking at both sides of an outcome before committing. But when working, utilising a positive mindset results in an overall better experience. 

 

I can’t force you to change. Nobody can. Only you have the power to change yourself. You must believe in yourself and want to change, and only then can you be successful.

 

What is something you wish you could see in a more positive light? What would you have to tell yourself to make that happen? Drop by a Low Entropy meet-up or let us know in the comments below!

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