Why are so many of us unhappy? Why do we struggle professionally and financially? Why aren’t our lives fulfilling and enriched by positive relationships?
I have spent the better part of my life now trying to figure this out, mostly for my own neuroses and to aid my efforts to be a better father.
The answer is hard to hear, but sometimes the truth hurts. It is us; it’s our own thinking that creates anxiety and distress in our lives. It is habitual thought patterns ingrained in us largely through experiences in our developmental years.
But here is the great news: The same mind that is creating the suffering is also the vehicle through which we can create the life we always wanted. The first step is to understand the thinking that is getting in our way.
In our research, we concluded that the vast majority of people are walking around acting in direct opposition to their own happiness and success. We call this thinking the “Counter Mindsets.”
While there are many Counter Mindsets, there are 7 in particular that we identified as the most destructive in today’s world.
The following is a definition of those Counter Mindsets and the positive affirmations for success that will allow you to work towards a new and healthier Mindset.
1 – “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
When we try out for a team, many of us do not make the cut. When we apply for college, we are often turned down. When we look for a job, we are competing with others. Our lives are seemingly a zero sum game in which our loss is another’s gain or vice versa. Why?
Because we believe in scarcity.
While it is true that it is a competitive world, we must not get that confused with a scarce world. If you don’t make the team, there are hundreds of other activities you can try. There will be thousands of colleges and jobs, many likely better for you that the one that turned you down. The truth is that we live in a world of unlimited opportunity. There is always something else. If you look around, you will find it is undeniable.
When we believe in scarcity, our actions become driven by fear, a very limiting force. When we believe in abundance, our actions are driven by our dreams and passions.
Sometimes I will succeed and sometimes I will fail, but I will know there is always another opportunity to be found and dream to be fulfilled.
2 – “It is a material world”
Somehow, we have concluded that extraordinary lives are reserved for the few, but that is not the case. We all have within us the ability to be a great friend, family member, parent, community member and professional.
The problem is, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves lacking.
This is because we measure success extrinsically.
Many of us look outside of ourselves for the most commonly sought markers of success: money, fame, status, and recognition. This creates a conundrum for us, because all of these things are actually fleeting. They raise our spirits in the short-term, which leaves us constantly looking for the next reward.
I know it is overstated, but happiness actually does come from within. What that means is that we must measure ourselves on internal growth rather than by extrinsic awards.
The measure of my life is the person I become. I seek growth from all the experiences of my life.
3 – “It is a dog eat dog world”
We can all only work so hard and so smart. Until we learn to work with, for and through others, our life will forever be limited.
I believe that all opportunities and new knowledge comes to us through others. The moment we cut someone out or disengage with them, we eliminate any value they can bring to our lives.
Even so, most of us believe independence is strength.
We have become so disconnected from one another. Asking for help and needing others is seen as weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To paraphrase a great saying, “If you can accomplish your dreams alone, you aren’t dreaming big enough.” Embracing everyone you encounter will not only allow you to achieve more, it will help you find greater meaning through the enriching relationships in your life.
Everyone that comes into my life can help me live my dreams. By seeking and finding synergies with others, the quality of my life will grow exponentially.
4 – “I would rather be lucky then good”
We all come from different backgrounds, and many have very difficult situations and experiences in our pasts. That I will never deny. I will assert, however, that blaming our past and even current circumstances saps all our power and ability to improve things.
Unfortunately, many of us believe we are victims of circumstance.
The moment we blame somebody, we weaken ourselves and inhibit our ability to grow from our experiences. It is this growth that will ultimately allow us to change our circumstances for the better.
We must let go of this victim mentality and channel all our energy towards growth.
I am not a victim of my past, and my future is not predetermined. My life is what I decide it to be from this moment and each moment moving forward.
5 – “If it’s not one thing, it’s another”
There is a concept called the Subway fallacy based on a survey conducted amongst people waiting for trains. They were asked, “Which train comes first more often – the one you’ll be riding, or the one going the other direction?” Over 70% answered that the other train came more often.
This is statistically impossible. It is a 50/50 proposition.
The problem is, we tend to focus on lack.
The reason is that the other train coming first created frustration, and thus more attention by the people waiting. It would be branded in their memories more deeply, creating a false perception that they always had bad luck at the train station.
The vast majority of us spend more time thinking of the things we don’t have rather than all the abundance we possess. The energy in our life flows to where our attention is. If we focus on the negatives, those are the things we experience more of. Likewise, if we focus on the positives, we will see the things we want expand in our lives.
We must learn to be more grateful.
I know that energy flows where attention goes. The things I focus on are the things that expand in my life. I choose to focus on the positive aspects of my life and find opportunities for growth even in the difficult times.
6 – “Charity begins at home”
A successful philanthropist and businessman once told me he has never spent a dime, but he has circulated millions. The money he spent was not lost, it was simply sent out, to ultimately come back in the form of greater abundance. It is this notion of Karma that permeates almost all of the truly happy people we researched.
Many of us restrict our giving for obvious reasons: not enough time, can’t afford to give, too much to do, etc.
In doing this, we limit kindness.
The quickest way I know to experience joy is to help another person. Give it a try, compliment someone or help them out. It is so empowering to realize that you have something to offer, something that can help another.
We must continually seek to expand the kindness in our lives. Give everything you can to everyone you can. If you can’t give money, give them your time or resources. When we give out value to the world, the world always responds in kind.
The greatest thing I can do is improve the life of another person. By doing this, I make the world a better place forever and expand the joy, meaning and success in my own life.
7 – “Don’t make the same mistake twice”
As Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust, sweat and blood, who errs again and again; but does so in a worthy cause so as to never be among those cold and timid souls that know neither victory or defeat.”
We fail when we do not act. We do not act because we fear failure.
If we do not act, we aren’t even in the game; we never allow ourselves an opportunity. We become passive, complacent and disengaged. Our creativity wanes and therefore our productivity. We must become more present as a society, learning to be in the moment and being prepared to take the right action and especially risks in the process of life. We must also find the courage to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable with the relationships in our lives.
When I am vulnerable and take risks, I am my most powerful. I know taking action will always benefit me, either through new successes or growth through new knowledge and relationships.
It is true that the only way out is through. To unlock our potential and live the lives we have always dreamed, we must first remove the things that are getting in the way. This is the fastest and perhaps the only way to true transformation in your life. We hope you are able to use these affirmations to reprogram the Counter Mindsets in your head with the new empowering language of possibility.