Do you believe in mantras or affirmations? I didn’t for a long time but I’m a believer now. I’ve seen the benefits firsthand and science supports how they can impact you. Each day at 5 am a message pops up on my phone that reads:
This is the day the Lord has made. I will be glad and rejoice in it.
Today will be a good day because I will approach everything with a positive attitude.
I will learn from every situation.
Depending on your belief system you may or may not appreciate or agree with the first line. That’s okay because we all have different views when it comes to faith. Let’s focus on the rest of the affirmation.
I’ve heard it said if you’re standing with one foot in the past and one in the future you’re pissing on today. It’s a funny visual and I hope you’ll recall the following whenever you picture it: The past has shaped who you are today and the future will determine the kind of person you become. But, today is all you have and the only thing you can control are the choices you make.
Will be a good day
Good and bad are nothing more than a function of your mind. Shakespeare said as much when he wrote, “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” It’s not uncommon to hear people who’ve been through unbelievable hardship acknowledge that good came from their circumstances.
You can choose to make today a good day by making choices about what you see, listen to, do and set your mind on. You can choose to look for the positive in any situation. To think otherwise is to give up your freedom according to Viktor Frankl.
Because I will approach everything with a positive attitude.
Frankl knows a thing or two about freedom and captivity because he experienced both during his years in Nazi concentration camps. In Man’s Search for Meaning he told readers, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Frankl came to realize nobody could make him think anything he didn’t want to think; that he was always free to choose where he would place his thoughts.
I will learn from every situation.
The human brain is a learning machine. It’s how you learn what you like, dislike, who to trust, fear and love, and much more. You may not realize it but much of what you’ve learned came about passively. That passivity often leads to less than optimal thought patterns and behaviors.
I am far from perfect in living out this affirmation. Quite often I realize in the middle of a situation, or afterwards, that my attitude was not good. But, in that moment of realization I have a choice. I can blow it off by blaming someone or circumstances. Or, I can learn by ask myself why my attitude was poor and question what I can do to change it next time.
The more I do learn the better I get at maintaining a positive attitude. It’s almost like catching myself in the moment and saying, “Wait, I’ve been here before. I’m not going to make the same mistake.”
Affirmations have gotten a bad rap over time and are often mocked. That’s understandable, especially when charlatans use them to take advantage of people. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Focusing on what you want – a positive attitude and learning mindset in my case – is good! The more you set your mind on positive qualities the more likely you are to live them or correct for them.
The more you focus on positive qualities, the deeper they penetrate your subconscious. As this happens, before you know it you’re living them without having to be so intentional. That’s how your brain learns and directs you.
Here’s my challenge for you. Give thought this week to one or two qualities you want to have or have in greater measure. Make sure they will benefit you and those who are around you. Come up with your own affirmation and make it a part of your daily ritual early and often. Then pay attention to the impact it has on you and others.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – will be available for pre-sale on July 9and goes live on August 20.
His LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive Selling, Persuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalitiesthis fall.