Staying Positive in Uncertain Times
During uncertain times things aren’t working, the way we want – this is very much true for the organisations we work as well as in our personal lives. We all have experienced this. There are multitudes of problems, and we struggle to decide on which one to act first. We try to pick one and put our best efforts to resolve it only to find an emergence of another new problem, but as we look back into the history there are clear sherds of evidence to substantiate the fact that there is an equal element of uncertainty to uncertain times as well, they also don’t last forever.
Uncertainty to certainty to certainty to uncertainty is a cycle which the world goes through. The key to success during uncertain times is how we manage to adapt ourselves to sail through the rough seas during the cycle of change.
“The bigger issue is, how do we deal with the status quo vs change paradox in life? The mistake we make when it comes to change is this – we compare the best-case scenario of the current situation against the worst-case scenario of the new change.”
The above is an extract of a recent article written by Chetan Bhagat. This struck me very hard as it answered a question I had inside me for long – “ Why change is scary? “
If we have to grow in life, we need to embrace change. Everyone knows it but when it’s time most of us resist change. Why so? It is because in those times, fear is always near to us, and it is a big impediment in our path to progress.
Why do we fear? As human beings our survival instincts are tuned to scan the environment for threats and when we find one, we experience fear as our first response. Fear is contagious and it spreads very fast taking control of us. Also, we are negatively biased. Negativity bias is a physiological phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than to positive experiences. Bad is stronger than good, if we are aware of this and consciously focus towards the good, we can emerge as the Strongest. To put it in simple terms Be Positive and embrace Positivity.
What is positivity? It is defined as the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.
How does it help?
Lao Tzu said
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
Ultimately it says, “We are what we think” hence it is logical to always think of the good things. When our mind is filled with happy, positive and joyful thoughts, the result is positive actions making others happy and us. It is always the opposite with the negative thoughts – This doesn’t need any proof as we all have experienced it many times in our life.
The research has also shown that apart from aiding us to grow being positive also helps us in many other ways – to list a few
- Increases our life span
- Make us more acceptable – help us to win friends and influence people
- Broadens our thinking
- Better Physical health
- Better Mental health
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
- Increases our probability for success.
Currently, the world is battling with the Corona pandemic, and it is fall outs mainly the disruptions in the economy, has already impacted all of us in one way or the other. No doubt we are now in a VUCA environment, where one decision impacts the other in multiple ways, where there is absolute lack of clarity, where the present is uncertain, the future impossible to predict, the changes happening so fast, and it’s difficult to catch up. Under these circumstances the need to be positive is more pressing than before.
I can clearly hear your mind voice and the question it poses – “Does being positive solve all the problems? “No definitely not. It is like having an umbrella in our hand, though it cannot stop the rain, still it allows us to stand and/or walk in the rain. It is like faith in god. It may not remove our trials but gives us strength to overcome them. Being Positive gives us the strength and vigour to face the challenges head on and sail through the difficult times.
How to be positive ? Do the thing, most of us like to do – GO TO BAR
GO TO BAR – Please don’t read and understand this in the literal sense. It is an acronym coined to describe the different attributes of being positive based on what I have read, learned and experienced in my life till date. The intention is to keep the acronym catchy so that it sinks well into your mind.
Now let us GO TO BAR
G – Good ( Keeping a good Company)
O – Observation ( Power of Observation)
T – Thoughts ( Makes or breaks us )
O – Optimism
B – Breath
A – Awareness
R – Real ( Accepting the reality )
Good : The people with whom we spend our time, have a huge impact on our life. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” says American entrepreneur and motivational speaker – Jim Rohin. More the time we spend with Positive people more positive we become, so we should mind our company.
Observation: The power of observation is the ability to notice and pay close attention to things happening around us. We need to have a belief ( a positive belief) that, there are many things we can learn from all that are around us. Every day learning through the power of observation equips us to handle the challenges better.
Thoughts : We are what we think, our thoughts either makes or breaks us. Our thoughts to a very large extent navigate us thorough life . They are immensely powerful. How we feel , act and decide is determined by our thoughts. For changing our lives for better, positive thoughts are the most powerful tool we have.
Optimism : It is the hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something. Optimists always view hardships as a temporary setback and treat them as a learning experience. They always choose to see the brightest side of things. If we choose to have Optimism as our dominant trait, we will be less affected however bad the events may be.
Breath : The breath of life it is called. It not only supplies the fuel oxygen to our body, but the effective breathing provides us with a greater sense of mental clarity. Practicing deep breathing techniques helps us to slow down and relax our otherwise cluttered mind and sets it in a positive frame.
Awareness : Are we adding years to our life, or value to our lives depends on the level of awareness we acquire. When we are aware of the happenings in our life, we can change our inner state of being which is very much in our control rather than fretting and reacting to the things happening outside, external to us wherein we have no control. This gives us a positive control over the things in life.
Real ( Accepting the Reality): By giving up the fictional version of our lives and learning to accept that is real and acknowledging, what it is helps. In the fight with reality it always wins. To keep it short, if we are in terms with reality, we are in a much better position to handle it.
Now, GO TO BAR often and raise your bar.
Practicing positive thinking every day
Every one of us is tuned to think in certain ways based on our past learning and experience so don’t expect to become an overnight optimist just stepping into GO TO BAR once.
Aristotle said ,“ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then , is not an act, but a habit.” Hence, with constant practice, we will start to think and be positive in our life’s circumstances and eventually Positivity will become our dominant trait. Then we will handle the life’s challenges in a more constructive way however bad the situations be.
Come let us GO TO BAR.