Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
As an entrepreneur, knowing that 50% of all startups fail within the first year and 95% within the first five, choosing to be the optimist can prove to be somewhat difficult. In fact, reading that statistic, you might be tempted to throw your hands up and say, “Well then, what’s the point?” The quickest way to perpetuate failure is to entertain those negative thoughts.
The more pertinent question should be, “Do I have what it takes to tackle any obstacle that comes at me?” If you have a passionate belief in what you are doing, the answer should be a resounding “YES”! Couple that with a positive attitude and you have a surefire recipe for success.
Consider the woman in the following story:
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
'Well', she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today?' So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
'H-M-M,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?' So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.' So she did and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
'YEA!' she exclaimed, 'I don't have to fix my hair today!' Attitude is everything. (Author Unknown)
Social psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson, says, “I think of positive emotions as nutrients. In the same way we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves.”
If becoming “more resourceful versions of ourselves” means generating a daily attitude like the woman in the above story, what do we have to do? How do we go about ingesting these positive emotions?
Might I suggest three simple, nutrient-rich, daily additives: (adapted from an article written by entrepreneur, James Clear)
Meditate: Fredrickson’s 2011 research determined that those who meditated daily displayed more overall positive emotions than those who did not. They also, over time, displayed an increase in mindfulness, purpose of life and social support. They also showed a decrease in noted illnesses. Meditation might include quietly pondering, reading, praying, listening to uplifting music or just simply taking a walk outdoors.
Write: A Harvard Business School study reports that writing 15 minutes a day can greatly benefit your job. "When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy," says HBS professor Francesca Gino. "They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they're doing and what they learn." So grab your parchment, sharpen that pencil and write your way to joyful productivity.
Play: One of the greatest challenges for any entrepreneur is to learn to step away from their business endeavors for no other reason than the pure fun of it. Possible? Not only is it possible, but essential. Enjoy the outdoors? Schedule a hike. Enjoy basketball? Buy a couple of tickets to the next local NBA game. Even something as simple as wrestling with your son after a long day of work can do wonders.
Simply put, get away from the work environment daily. Or, as Mark Twain once said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles...by the ears, by the heels, or any way you can manage it.” It just might surprise you the amount of joy that is poured into that proverbial cup of positivity.
Let me know: What sorts of ways do you plan to “play” in your workday? I’d love to hear how you’ll implement mediation, writing and play. Open your calendar now. Schedule time each day for each and set reminders if needed.