Russell Facey, Partner at Whitebridge Group, looks at the positive mindset myth, and the importance of not just thinking positively but also thinking strategically to ensure that you are stacking the odds in your favour!

A positive mindset is a great thing.  With it we can climb mountains, win races, raise families, forge successful careers and become genuine, emotionally intelligent and passionate leaders.

However, there is a widespread myth that all we need to do is think positively and all challenges are surmountable.   

According to the philosopher Seneca, “A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.”   Given this truth, what happens to the positive mindset on those dark, wet, cold winter days where that 6am mindfulness walk with the dog feels more like a survival weekend with Bear Grylls in Alaska?  When the 3rd client prospect in a row is a “no thanks”?  When the bathroom scales seem to need recalibrating?  How much energy does it take to think positively then?

Many would promote creating a gratitude habit to build a stronger appreciation for the meaningful things in your life.  I can attest to this working well and as a stand-alone exercise is absolutely of benefit.   Some people rely on their faith and others meditate, both with excellent effect.

Sometimes though we need to get more strategic and stack the odds in our favour.  We want to ensure that a positive mindset is not dependent on the weather or the latest news exiting Ukraine.  Not reliant on mood or our ability to quieten the brain for a few minutes reflection.

A simple process I go through every single day is to collect wins. Three is enough just to get started.   It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant I just write them down.  Some days I feel like I’m really scraping the barrel, but those are the days I most need to do this.   A win is something that is important to you and you only.   

Those 3 daily wins soon stack up.   Becoming 21 in a week, 84 in a month, 1095 in a year.  All I need to do when the enemy of a positive mindset turn up – fear, uncertainty and doubt – is go back and see how much I’ve achieved.   Sounds too good to be true?  I challenge you to try it. Before long you will be seeking wins from everything you do.   Yes, even on those cold, dark January morning walks when you wish you stayed in bed!

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