You hear it everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE. Positivity is always accounted for as one of the largest factors in major success. Without it, you might as well close up shop.
Why is it that the likes of Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk (and many of the largest self-help players in the business world) throw the term positivity around like a game of catch?
Well, the truth is, positivity really does have an effect on your ability to be successful. It’s not because positivity gives you superpowers or anything like that, but because it alters your mindset to believe that the things you originally thought were impossible become possible for you, and not just for others.
Positivity is defined as thinking in an optimistic way or developing an attitude that perceives your goals and objectives as entirely possible. This is the key.
Before we dive into the ways that you can better manage and augment your entrepreneurial positivity, let me ask you a simple question:
Wouldn’t a positive person (who consequently believes that success is possible) be much more willing to take action, and push through the adversity of entrepreneurship in order to succeed? The answer is YES!
Those who believe in the possible will always have more intrinsic power than those who believe something is impossible.
“Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford.
Today, I wanted to give you some tips on how to deal with negativity in a big way. These simple, but often overlooked, ideas can help you manage overwhelming scenarios and believe more fully in the power you have to make a difference in your life.
This is the guide to entrepreneurial positivity.
Step 1: Think in Polarizations
What are polarizations? Polarizations are the extremes of something. Polarizations can help you make better decisions through the nature of the potential of your actions.
Think of it this way, happiness and positivity often stem from the pride you have in who you’ve become.
To develop this pride, you need to act within the bounds of your own values. Those who don’t will consequently face an identity crisis due to the cognitive dissonance that results when you DON’T act in line with your own beliefs.
Therefore, making decisions and taking action that you’d be proud of is what results in a more positive outlook. In this way, you’ve matched your actions with your identity – the very person you perceive yourself to be.
So what does this look like in terms of everyday life? How can you use polarizations to work for you when making decisions that you believe in?
Let me give you a personal example.
In the past, when I was thinking about quitting my jobs, I had to decide between the security of a job and the adventure of entrepreneurship. I know how potential works as well; if you aren’t improving, then you are worsening. I use this idea to formulate the polarization in my mind.
I knew that if I stayed with my job, then I would have chosen to be the absolute best at my job and put other things aside.
But if I left to be an entrepreneur, then I would be the absolute best at being an entrepreneur. To me and my own identity, entrepreneurship was far more suiting.
I have never regretted quitting my job.
Here’s another common example: In every 12-step rehabilitation program there must be a point at which people say to themselves “If I’m going to do this, then I’m really going to do this. These people would rather make the most of their sobriety and not their inebriation. Sobriety simply matched their definition of a better life in the long term.
Here’s what you need to do to maintain positivity and become proud of your decisions. Whenever you’re faced with a tough decision between two things, keep in mind what your perfect life looks like, and decide which of those things best matches your goals and objectives.
Doing so means that you may reject certain things now, and avoid immediate gratification, yet you will have acted in the best interests of yourself and your own identity.
And tell me that doesn’t sound like something an amazingly successful entrepreneur would do!
Step 2: Stop the Expectations
Expectations are the medium through which we invite victimhood and doubt to enter our mindsets. And as we know, these things are never useful to us.
Expectations are the doors for disappointment. Entrepreneurs need to recognize that different things happen differently for different people. This is why every successful entrepreneur fully encourages others to be themselves, and not merely copies of someone else.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to find your own voice, do your own work, and stop believing that if you do exactly what someone else does, you’ll get the same things immediately. That’s not how it works.
Quitting the expectations goes hand in hand with another big principle in positivity: Finding JOY in small victories.
If I expected to be a millionaire in 6 months, I’d be completely disappointed, all due to my inflated expectations. However, If I focused solely on the fulfillment of my work, then whatever else comes my way becomes a bonus, and further motivates me to push on!
Heres a personal example: When I started this blog, I got HARDLY any visitors. And when I say hardly, oh boy do I mean it.
I’m talking about maybe 1 or 2 actual visitors every few days. Yikes.
After I got over the initial disappointment (because I had expected to blow up at that point, my bad) I continued writing blog posts anyways. I realized that the process was long, and consequently when I started receiving just an average of 3 visitors a day, I was overjoyed!
Success is not had by the work you put in once or twice, but every single day. In fact, success is on the other end of disappointment and hardship.
It’s easy to do something when you first start it, believing that you’ll immediately be noticed, blow up, and never have to worry ever again. What is much harder is pushing through the inevitable point at which you feel nothing is working, and coming out on the other side.
Success is a long process. I forget who said it but they quoted this gem, “It took me 10 years to become an overnight success.”
Expecting quick rewards is not going to help you in the least. In fact, the most rewarding and satisfying accomplishments are those that you work the hardest for.
So let me ask a similar question now that we know that doubt results from our efforts in difficult times: If you aren’t doubting yourself right now, are you taking enough action to reach your goals?
Step 3: Quit Comparing Yourself
Probably the single most debilitating and power-stripping thing you can do is to compare yourself with another person’s success.
I mean, why do you think social media is causing a surge in depression and mental health issues in this new generation? It’s because they are comparing the “highlight reel” of other people’s lives with their own immediately pressing issues. And therefore, they feel inadequate.
Comparing yourself to others is a dead-set way to become demotivated. When we do that, we make comparisons regarding where we are and where others are and how we aren’t as successful. As you can imagine, this is a horrible thing to do.
The only comparison you should be making is between your past and present self. This is always beneficial. If you aren’t happy with who you’ve become, now you can start finding out why and making changes.
If you are happy with you’ve become, you can keep doing your own thing!
The choices we have made in the past will affect our present. And the choices we make now will inevitably affect our future. what are you going to choose?
The moment I deleted social media, and other ways that I make internal comparisons for that matter, was the moment that I became much more attuned to my surroundings and happy with my accomplishments.
Success is not a limited resource. Happiness is not a limited resource. And when you begin to find the joy in where you are instead of where you are trying to be, you’ll find it much easier to stay positive at the moment, despite any struggles you may face!
Step 4: Stop Hoping For Change
The moment that I stopped hoping for things to get better, and started actively making them that way, was the moment I learned the secret to being happy.
Hope is always considered a good thing. I don’t think so.
Hope, by definition, means that you avoid taking your own action. You simply “wish” for things to get better in the future.
Sure, hope is a comforting concept, if you are powerless. But who is truly powerless? Nobody.
I used to say to myself “oh, things will get better” and I realize now that every-time I said that I was forfeiting the power I had to change my situation. I avoided taking action with the belief that things will just “get better.”
They didn’t, not until I took action myself.
I guarantee that by avoiding “hope” you will actually make yourself a more positive person because you will take action to better your own situation. You will become much more attuned to the power that you have to change for the better instead of simply wishing for it.
My life changed the moment I stopped hoping and started doing.
“I hope I get a better job.”
“I hope things will change for me soon.”
” I hope they see my worth.”
What are you actively DOING to get a better job? What are you DOING to make things change? What are you DOING to present your worth? If you aren’t DOING something to improve, who do you think is going to help you, considering everybody else is focused on them and themselves alone?
YOU need to change YOUR situation. Don’t just “hope” things will change, if you do, you’ll actually avoid making things change in the first place because you’ll avoid taking action.
Thinking about things doesn’t change anything. Doing something different does. And once you realize that you have more power than you think, you’ll feel much more positive about your own abilities and sense of self.
At the end of the day, your positivity as an entrepreneur will depend on the actions you take, and whether you can be proud of those actions. Stop the comparisons between yourself and others, START the comparisons between your past and present.
Make choices based on the dichotomy of potential that you have. polarize those choices to make the right path for you clear and obvious, then take action on that path.
Stop hoping for things to change when you could be actively making them the way you want. Nothing will change for you if you keep doing the same thing after all.
Don’t expect quick rewards, but enjoy them when they come!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.