In the past, a few of my friends have asked me " Ben, how can I control my own mind (why they would ask me is a mystery). I assume they don't mean something weird like telekinesis, but what that really mean is...
When I am feeling negative or depressed, what can I do to feel better?
Well I call this one the Art of the Reframe.
Just what exactly is a reframe you ask?
It's all about rewiring your brain for positivity.
In a nutshell it is taking a different perspective on your current situation. Everything that happens to us is neither good or bad, it's only our response to it that makes it so.
We have the tendency to fall into negative spirals when something bad happens to us. Our thoughts replay over and over, and it can take a very long time to snap out of it.
If you want to know a secret that successful and wealthy people, it's this:
All news is good news. ( besides the obvious like terminal illness)
It is critical to your success to maintain your momentum. If you get derailed from every little negative bump in your life, you will never ever experience the good life.
In fact-There's a DIRECT correlation with the speed you recover from bad news to your overall success in life.
So learn and use just a few of these strategies to shift your focus from negative to positive, and you will be able to break free of downward negative spirals forever.
Note that this is different from being optimistic all of the time. It is actually a cognitive bias to be overly optimistic, you must look for a middle path between optimism and pessimism. ( Charlie Munger suggests always keeping basic probabilities in mind to combat over optimism)
So to start off, the very first thing you can do when something bad happens is ask yourself: What is good about this? What lesson can I take away? This is simply making a shift in your awareness to the good and away from the bad. Easy enough, right?
A big part of this all comes down to being "present to the moment". You need to focus on what's going on RIGHT NOW, and not playing mental movies of what the future will look like. The past and the future are ghosts.
Ask yourself what you can do to change your situation, improve it, or remove yourself from it entirely.
The next thing you can do is also very easy. Every night right before you go to sleep, think about 5 positive things you did that day. This little habit alone will immediately begin to rewire your brain to think more positively.
All too often we constantly think about the things we don't have and what we want. It's extremely rare for most people to allow themselves to feel appreciation for what they do have. Start thinking in terms of gratitude and appreciation, it will seriously change you.
Tony Robbins says that we cannot feel fear or anxiety and gratitude at the same time. Because of that, when I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is say " I love my life", and I think of 5 things I am grateful for. This is another subtle habit that can really make a big difference in your frame of mind.
When I was first learning sales I learned a ton of different techniques for maintaining a positive attitude, I outlined a bunch in my book the sales blueprint, but because I like you I'll repeat a few of them here.
If you just got a hard rejection from a prospect ( or in a social situation, a cute girl for example), here are a few things you can do to brush yourself off and move on.
Allow yourself to feel bad for 5 minutes maximum. It's okay to feel negative for a few minutes if you did something stupid, as long as you get over it quickly and return to at least your baseline.
My sales trainer Zach who unfortunately passed away, told me that you should always try to think of your attitude as Wolverine, not Superman. Wolverine can regenerate when he gets injured, he feels pain but it is only temporary. Superman is invincible, bullets bounce off him- he's also an alien. ( I know technically Wolverine is a mutant, but that's not the point, nerd)
In the book the Four Agreements, one of those agreements is to never take anything personally. If someone is mean to you for example, it reflects more on them than on you 99% of the time. Bad things will happen to you in life, people will cut you off in traffic, and in general you will get (pardon my French) fucked over. It happens. Expect it and get over it.
At the same time you don't take anything personally, it is important that you always tell yourself "I AM RESPONSIBLE" whenever something bad happens to you. This might seem like a paradox and counter to the last piece of advice, but it is critical. Why? Because it roots out and destroys any trace of victim mentality you might have.
Let's take an unfair situation that most would agree is certainly not your fault. Maybe you were walking down the street, and a stranger came and picked a fight with you. Well if you couldn't defend yourself, maybe you should have taken self defense classes, or maybe you shouldn't have been in that area. To make my point absolutely clear, even if the situation is 100% unfair, you still have to take responsibility.
I could go on but I think I have made my point.
Hopefully you found some value in these techniques and they can help you out. Let me know if you have any more that I have missed.