How do we manage to stay positive all the time? Especially, with the state our country is in, all the terrible news that we are constantly subjected to, and maybe our frustrating work circumstances?
At the beginning of 2020, my biggest goal was to own a dental practice. Mid way during the national shut down, I recognized that owning a practice was not really a goal. A ‘goal’ is something that if difficult to achieve and supremely essential. And, so, staying positive or practicing having a growth mindset became a bigger, more important goal for the year.
It is not always easy being positive, and I have definitely not yet succeeded in achieving it completely. In fact, I think it may take me a few more years to master it.
Importance of positivity
Why is this so important to me? So, sure, positivity makes one feel happy and more fulfilled. But, it also gives birth to creativity and problem-solving skills. Optimism can help you see opportunities in a new light and take you to your personal and professional goals faster. It also reduces stress and anxiety regarding the unknown. It helps you see your life with a ‘big picture’ view and navigate conflict better.
The few times I’ve been able to remain positive in the past year, I’ve been at my creative best. Founding the New Dentist Business Club, writing for the American Dental Association, finding the LEND program at the UW, and planning complicated implant placements, all came as a result of positivity and the spontaneous bursts of inspiration that followed. Those are some of my strongest accomplishments of the past year. None of them would have been possible had it not been for optimism.
One of the biggest things in maintaining positivity, is developing a filtering mechanism in your mind. When you are able to see through to the other person or circumstance and understand their point of view. Instead of getting worked up or stressed, you practice compassion and empathize with their perspective. You are also controlling the kind of thoughts entering your mind.
You, and you alone, can master your thoughts.
There are days when everything is going along just fine, and a single negative thought can ruin your whole night. Why do we let our negative thoughts have so much power?
The truth? It is human nature for that to happen. Don’t be so hard on yourself! The good news? There is a lot we can do to overcome these negative thoughts. We can learn from our mentors and role models on how they achieved uncommon success by building a growth mindset. Here is a list of things I have compiled after speaking to several mentors about how to focus on positivity:
Some of my favorite self-help books are written by Ryan Holiday- Stillness is the Key and The Daily Stoic, and Robin Sharma- the 5 AM Club and Who Will Cry When You Die? Business books like How I Built This, Find your Why, Good to Great and Traction are also very inspiring reads. Trying to read for a half hour prior to bedtime can be crucial in getting you a good night’s rest. It will also fill your mind with positive thoughts when you wake up the next day.
Surrounding yourself with positive people
The pandemic has given you an opportunity to reflect on the people you spend most of your time with. Use this time wisely and make important choices if you need to. Some of the most inspiring people I know happen to be members of the New Dentist Business Club. Meeting them bi-weekly- is really what keeps me going. Every meeting leaves me pumped and in high spirits. My recommendation would be to surround yourself with people like that. Even on the days you don’t feel good, these people will inspire you to do better.
Some of the most mindful people I know practice gratitude on a daily basis. They write three things they are grateful for in a journal first thing in the morning. Or, they spend a few minutes meditating. Gratitude can also appear in the form of prayer. What’s common in all these practices is consistency and doing it at the same time every day.
There are so many other ways to stay positive! However, if you are new to the practice, the above might be good ways to get you started.
If you really want to make an impact in the world, let the impact first be on your own mind. Achieving anything else will just be a matter of time.