In this video I discuss the power of a positive attitude.
It seems our world gets more and more complex with every hour that passes. Before a minute has even passed, Apple comes out with the next iPhone. There’s another update that needs to be downloaded onto our smartphone. There’s the iPod, then the iPad, then the Kindle, then the Nook.
We’re constantly moving from one responsibility to the next, first a meeting, then another meeting, then work, then… (fill in the blanks).
But how many of these things are actual necessities? How many of these things are actually essential to our lives?
So many irrelevant obligations that just take away valuable energy.
When did people begin deriving status from running around from thing to thing to thing instead of staying focused on what REALLY matters?
I’m all about subtracting these days.
Subtracting people who don’t deserve to be in my life. Subtracting activities that don’t fulfill me. Subtracting social events that aren’t going to better me in some way. Subtracting the things that aren’t essential to what makes me, me.
And, I’m finding that busy does not equal fulfilled.
What makes me fulfilled is spending more time on fewer things. Putting all my energy into my job that I love. Putting all my effort into a small group of people who really matter, and are positive, genuine influences on my life. Putting effort into a small amount of activities that fulfill me, such as my bookclub and cooking with my best friend.
I propose a step back from the chaos, and a step towards simplicity and focus. Putting more energy into fewer things, rather than putting little effort into many things. To subtract anything that does not really matter, and focus only on what does.
Simplicity, and only simplicity is key.
Ever since I switched to a mostly plants diet over 4 years ago, I noticed a dramatic change in my energy levels and overall well-being. I found that healthy eating helped me feel less sluggish throughout the day and accomplish much more than I ever did before.
Healthy eating is one of the greatest ways to increase energy levels and happiness. The following are a list of some of my favorite healthy living resources for increased inspiration and healthy living:
Heather Nicholes – A vegan holistic nutritionist, Heather runs healthyeatingstartshere.com. Her youtube channel is filled with nutrition info, vegan recipes, and overall awesomeness.
Radiance Central – Natasha is a health coach, and lover of raw food and juicing/green smoothies. On her channel she has great tips, smoothie recipes, and overall positivity.
The Blissful Chef – A contributor of Forks over Knives, Morgan’s channel focuses on cooking and fantastic vegan recipes.
The World’s Healthiest Foods – This is my go-to nutrition website, filled with concise but detailed information.
Kimberly Snyder – Although maybe a little extreme for some, Kimberly has great detox information, recipes, and nutrition facts.
No Meat Athlete – This is my favorite exercise blog. The author is a marathon runner who is completely vegan. Filled with great work-out resources as well as healthy food resources. Faaaaaav.
Meatless Monday – The website of the ever growing movement, it includes some FANTASTIC vegetarian recipes.
What are some of your favorite resources?
I’m a huge fan of Will Smith, not only for his acting, but also for his amazing positive attitude that is portrayed every time I’ve heard him talk.
He embodies the success that inevitably comes when you set your mind to accomplishing goals.
The video below is a compilation of his views on these topics, including optimism and work ethic, a large reason why he is so successful today.
“The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
There is a difference between happiness and optimism. Happiness is a feeling of contentedness within, while optimism has to do with your expectations.
Additionally, “being positive” is somewhat different than being optimistic: “positivity” is much more about looking on the sunny side of life. For instance, when going through a hard time, seeing the glass as have full rather than half empty. This again doesn’t necessarily have to do with specific future positive expectations, but rather with looking on the sunny side of situations.
For further examples:
“I am happy with my life; I have everything I need” (happy)
“I may be going through a tough time, but I learned X from this mistake and know I’ll make it through” (positive)
“I expect all good things to come to me today” (optimism)
I generally think of myself as much happier and more positive than the average person, yet tend to struggle in certain situations with thinking optimistically of the future.
One thing that’s made a difference lately is focusing on one affirmation daily and repeating it in my mind throughout the day.
Struggle with negative expectations? Give it a shot. Here are some favorites:
“I am more than enough.”
“I am magnificence in human form”
“I expect all good things to come to me today”
“I radiate light”
“I am a success seeker, not a failure avoider”
What do you do to practice optimism?
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” –Eckhart Tolle
Living in a consumerist society, it’s easy to notice the things we don’t have.
We don’t have the new iPhone. We don’t have the “in” cute black shoes. We don’t have the hair portrayed in that conditioner commercial.
It’s equally as easy (especially for you goal-motivated readers) to notice where you’re not.
You’re not at X weight. At X mile. In the career position you dream of. It’s easy to think “I’ll be happy when I get to X goal” or “when I get X smartphone.”
Obviously, this is fools thinking. Happiness comes from within, do not seek it without.
Thinking you’ll be happy when X happens is a happiness myth. Psychologists call this hedonic adaptation: once you get the thing you wanted, you adapt, and then want something greater. So, if you initially want to go down to size 6 thinking that will make you happy, once you are at size 6 you will adapt, and then move onto a smaller size that you believe will bring you happiness.
That being said, take a moment to step back this week and appreciate where you are NOW. Look at where you are, and be grateful for where you are in your journey.
- Meditation: try a meditation that focuses on mindfulness
- Reflect on 5 things you are grateful for presently
- Reflect on your past failings, and notice how far you’ve come since
- Claim a day with NO GOALS, focus on just being
“It is not true we have only one life to love, if we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.” –S.I. Hayakawa
As a kid, my father read to me basically every single night. I was read the classics, poetry, and children’s books. I went to bed with fear and excitement of the pirates under my bed from Treasure Island, the White Witch from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the animals from Charlotte’s Web.
The second I learned to read myself, I was swept into an imaginary world that I could not leave.
This was my childhood as I remember it. It was filled with books. And reading with a flashlight under my bed covers into the wee hours of the night.
Come to find now at the wee age of 23, how much I still love to read. Re-instilling (or instilling for the first time) a love of reading is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
- Focus on books you like. Put it down if you’re bored. This should not be a chore. Reading should be fun!
- Try joining a bookclub, or reading the same book friends or family are reading, to add a social component.
- Get in the habit of carrying a book everywhere. That way, when you have 10 minutes of downtime (say, at a doctors office), you can spend your time profitably.
- Consider making it a routine if you enjoy routines, like say reading for 20 minutes in the morning or at night.
- Consider starting a reading log, in which you document your reading adventures.
- Try Goodreads (my FAVORITE social networking site)!
A Few of My Favorite Books of All Time (if you want book ideas)
- Treasure Island
- Robin Hood
- A Wrinkle in Time
- Anne of Green Gables
- Ella Enchanted
- The Golden Compass
- The Bluest Eye
- The Awakening
- Madame Bovary
- Les Mis
- Sense and Sensibility
- King Lear
- The Hobbit
- Water for Elephants
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Grapes of Wrath
- Love in a Time of Cholera
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- The Kite Runner
What are some of your favorite books?