Many people rise every morning with the intent of having a great day, but some will rise every day with their first thought being about everything that will go wrong. Constructive thinking is part of our emotional intelligence, but it only makes a difference when we use it.
It might help to understand the differences between constructive and destructive thinking. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
There are many things that might bring on destructive thinking, and unfortunately people sometimes become hooked on such patterns, patterns then become habits, and it’s hard to break free.
When does destructive thinking get life? Here are a few possibilities, when you:
- are hurried;
- feel angry or dislike;
- are embarrassed;
- have tight deadlines;
- get unfavorable feedback.
Of course there are many other scenarios that might play out to put you on a path of destructive thinking.
You might not close a sale or opportunity you’ve been working on, you might be uncomfortable with people you work around, or you are highly stressed by multiple and growing demands of your time or attention.
One of the keys for more constructive thinking is to minimize or not allow any room for the destructive stuff, replace destructive with constructive and perhaps most important, make it a habit.
Give yourself some new patterns of thinking. Here are a few opportunities.
- Being optimistic. Instead of seeing how your worst thought or fear might come true consider what are the good things that might happen next? Look for opportunity in a roadblock and get excited about pursuing things from a different (better) approach.
- Build a positive prophecy. See the future as happening for you, not to you. See the end result as a positive outcome. Eliminate questionable thinking. Think, “I am strong and I am successful,” instead of “I’ll try hard and I will become better.”
- Live in today, not yesterday. We learn from mistakes, let downs, and failures, but that doesn’t mean that we have to re-live them. Grow from past experiences but don’t keep reliving negative or unwanted outcomes. See yourself in a better place.
In the heat of the moment we can also take a break, some deep breaths, and discipline ourselves to replace harsh unwanted thoughts with something more constructive. In challenging relationships we might need to establish a plan or a course of action that will allow us to break patterns of negativity.
Consider what you talk about, what you share with others. Sometimes people claim they are very positive, but all they speak of is negativity. Certainly everyone might need to vent occasionally but minimize this activity because it only keeps you reliving the unwanted.
Last, but certainly not least, sometimes we might have to consider if there are other explanations for what is happening. Are you misunderstanding the circumstances or situations? Are you assuming too much or too little? If you were in someone else’s shoes would you view this differently?
Constructive thinking might be one of the most powerful things you can do to turn things around.
Go ahead, make your day!
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.