By Brian Tracy
As an individual, you are continually faced with challenges, difficulties and temporary setbacks. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. By learning how to manage stress and respond with a positive attitude to each challenge, you’ll grow as a person and start moving forward in life. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qualities of your character to where they are today.
Much of your ability to succeed comes from the way you deal with life and manage stress. One of the characteristics of superior men and women is that they recognize the inevitability of temporary disappointments and defeats, and they accept them as a normal and natural part of life. They do everything possible to avoid problems, but when problems come, superior people respond with a positive attitude, learn from them, and keep moving forward in the direction of their dreams.
There is a natural tendency in all of us to react emotionally when our expectations are frustrated in any way. When something we wanted and hoped for fails to materialize, we feel a temporary sense of disappointment and unhappiness. We feel disillusioned and react as though we have been punched in the “emotional solar plexus”.
Manage Stress with a Positive Attitude
The optimistic person, however, knows how to manage stress in difficult situations and soon moves beyond this disappointment. He responds quickly to the adverse event and interprets it as being temporary, specific and external to himself. The optimist responds with a positive attitude, knows how to manage stress and counter the negative feelings by immediately reframing the event so that it appears positive in some way.
Since your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, either positive or negative, if you deliberately choose a positive thought to dwell upon, you keep your mind optimistic and your emotions positive. Since your thoughts and feelings determine your actions, you will tend to be a more constructive person, and you will start moving forward and more rapidly toward the goals that you have chosen.
It all comes down to the way you talk to yourself on a regular basis.
Instead of using the word problem, we encourage people to use the word situation. You see, a problem is something that you deal with. The event is the same. It’s the way you interpret the event to yourself that makes it sound and appear completely different.
Even better than situation is the word challenge. Whenever you have a difficulty, immediately reframe it, choose to view it as a challenge, and start moving forward. Rather than saying, “I have a problem,” say, “I have an interesting challenge facing me.” The word challenge is inherently positive. It is something that you rise to that makes you stronger and better. It is the same situation, only the word that you are using to describe it is different.
The best of all possible words to maintain a positive attitude and manage stress is the word opportunity. When you are faced with a difficulty of any kind, instead of saying, “I have a problem,” you can say, “I am faced with an unexpected opportunity.” And if you concentrate your powers on finding out what that opportunity is—even if it is only a valuable lesson—you will certainly find it. As the parable says, “Seek and ye shall find, for all who seek find it.”
Moving Forward and Thinking Positive
Here are four ideas you can use to help you to maintain a positive attitude and manage stress:
First, resolve in advance that no matter what happens, you will not allow it to get you down. You will respond with a constructive and positive attitude. You will take a deep breath, relax and look for whatever good the situation may contain.
Second, neutralize any negative thoughts or emotions by speaking to yourself positively all the time. Say things like, “I feel healthy! I feel happy! I feel terrific!” As you go about your job, say to yourself, I like myself, and I love my work!” According to the law of expression, whatever is expressed is impressed. Whatever you say to yourself or others is impressed deeply into your subconscious mind and is likely to become a permanent part of your personality.
Third, remember that it is impossible to learn and grow and become a successful person without adversity and difficulties. You must learn to manage stress and rise above the difficulties in order to become a better person. Welcome each difficulty by saying, “That’s good!” and then look into the situation to find the good in it.
Finally, start moving forward in life by keeping your thoughts on your goals, dreams, and on the person you are working toward becoming. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, “I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life.” Resolve to maintain a positive attitude, be cheerful, and resist every temptation toward negativity and disappointment. View a disappointment as an opportunity to grow stronger, and about it to yourself and others in a positive and optimistic way.