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Positive Thinking: Becoming a Positive Thinker

Brazilian girl smiling... positive thinker?Most people would say I’m a positive thinking person.

I tend to spend time with pro-active, happy, fun and positive people that are also into positive thinking. Who wants to spend their time with naysayers and those that are focused on negative thinking? I can’t. I’ve tried before and eventually those friendships all come to the same outcome – we go our separate ways.

I’ve tried to look at WHY am I a positive thinker, and how I became this way so I could share it with you and help you to become a positive thinking person too. I’ll just tell you a little bit about how my mind works and some of the self-talk I use and hope that you can apply that in your life.

When I wake up in the morning my thinking goes something like this…

“Wow, I’m still alive. Well, gotta do something then… What can I do today to make it the best day possible?”

Really – I promise you, those are my first thoughts upon realizing I’m conscious in the morning. I ask myself –

“What can I do today to make it the best day possible?”

Because I know when I go to sleep at night and I’m replaying what happened that day I want to be happy that I accomplished some things. They might even be small things – but I accomplished things. That’s what is important. I don’t want to go to bed thinking – “Man, what a junk day that was.”

So, in a way my positive thinking mode comes at least partly, from fear. The fear of looking back at today and realizing I screwed off instead of making it a day where I accomplished something positive.

For me – accomplishment is everything. I’m not sure exactly why that is – except that I must have been rewarded for it in the past quite a bit. I played soccer all my life – when the coach told me I did a good job on a certain play I was ecstatic because my coach rarely gave compliments, and only when they were deserved. I dug compliments. I noticed I got more compliments and more people noticed when I accomplished things than when I wasn’t contributing anything… not doing anything positive.

I get this weird sense of satisfaction from doing dishes. No lie. I’m not in a rush when I wash dishes. It’s a perfect time to accomplish something. I’m taking a dirty dish and making it clean. That’s cool to me – in my own private logic.

I like web development and search engine optimization for the same reason I like doing dishes. I’m applying myself and instantly seeing changes that get me or someone else further along the path. I love that.

Other simple things I love because I’m accomplishing something:

  • Chopping down a tree for wood to use.
  • Planting things
  • Watering plants
  • Raking leaves
  • Ironing
  • Creating a blog post
  • Helping someone else and watching them get excited because we’re getting something done
  • Filling the smaller water bottles from our big jug (a daily thing in Thailand)
  • Exercise. Climbing steps, hiking, running, biking. I’m making my body do something it didn’t have to do. I’m accomplishing work and fun at the same time.

I fill each day with tasks or activities that accomplish something. In this way I remain focused on positive thinking and I’m happy throughout the day.

My normal state of mind is thinking positively and doing. I’m always doing.

If you’ve read my posts about TV and why I think it’s such a waste of life you’ll begin to understand where I get that view from. When I go to sleep after having accomplished positive things all day up until the point where I sat in front of a screen for four or more hours and watched paid idiots recite scripts designed to make me laugh… I don’t have a positive view of my day.

That’s unacceptable.

I ask myself –

“What the hell did you learn in those 4 hours? What did you accomplish? Are you going to keep doing that? If you projected into the future all the hours you’re going to completely waste like that it turns out that you’re not so bright anymore… you’re not living life in a positive way… you’re an imbecile. You want to be an imbecile?”

Honestly, that’s what I tell myself. I try to make myself feel like the idiot I was. I have honest conversations – reality talks in which I make myself see the harmfulness of whatever it is that I’m doing.

TV might seem like an innocent way to spend four hours not-thinking. But, if that’s acceptable to me today – it’s acceptable again. And again. And again. Add those up and it’s not 4 hours, it’s 800 hours because for 200 days in a year I did the same thing – wasted 4 hours of watching TV instead of accomplishing something. And, it’s not even 800 hours, it’s 16,000 hours in 20 years.

I know I can accomplish a LOT of stuff in 16,000 hours if I’m not watching TV. Therefore it’s completely unacceptable to EVER watch TV for 4 hours. After 15 minutes of watching it I feel uncomfortable like I’m taking the easy way out and I shut if off. I realize – it’s sucking me in – sucking me in – and I kill it.

Positive thinking happens when you’re focused on something you like to do. If you like what you’re doing everyday – you’re generally focused on positive thoughts and thinking. If you dislike what you’re doing – how can you have positive thoughts?

Rearranging your life so you’re doing what you want to be doing – what makes you happy – is of prime importance for your happiness… and the happiness of those around you. You’re able to bring much more happiness to friends and family if you’re focused on what CAN be done – not what can’t be done or what isn’t going right.

Changing your life seems so difficult to some people. Do you feel like your life is stuck and impossible to break out of it? The only thing holding you back is your mind. That’s it. And you know what – it’s memory holding you back, nothing more than some neural connections that should be broken.

Maybe you think you need to stay in the job you hate because it pays the bills.

Yeah, sure it does – but you could be a garbage man and pay your bills – and probably be a lot happier too. You know, I could be a garbage man and be pretty damn happy because I’m seeing the results of what I’m doing every single day.

There are literally hundreds of jobs you can do. You’re not tied to the job you’re at. You gotta break free of jobs, family situations, economic situations, disabilities, anything that’s in the way of you being happy nearly every day. Otherwise life is just that. It’s life. A life sentence, more dramatically. You’ve sentenced yourself to a life of misery.

You can’t have positive thinking if you don’t have positive life environment. Change your life environment. Make yourself happy at whatever cost.

Yes, you owe something to your sick mother if you’re taking care of her. No, you don’t need to be there for her 24 hours a day. That’s what a nurse is for. That’s what a caregiver is for.

You can break free from your situation no matter what it is. You can turn your world upside freaking down and you know what? You’re still there – you’re still moving forward. You’ve got a new set of circumstances to deal with and you’re finding what works… you can find what works. You can find what makes you happy and do it.

If you need to rip apart your current dismal world – do it today. It can only get better. It can only get more positive. You’ll start thinking in positive ways. You’ll have to because you’ll have destroyed your old dysfunctional way of living.

If you take a close look at this concept, Positive Thinking you’ll notice that when it’s in effect it alters people around you. One person thinking positively has an effect on others. Just like one person thinking negatively can have a profound effect on others!

Businesses love positive thinking employees. Friends love positive thinking friends. Families love positive thinking members of the family. We gravitate toward positive thinkers – we want to be part of something positive because it makes us all feel better. It makes us happier to focus on positive rather than negative.

Now, I’ve said a lot about the importance of positive thinking – but what about the other side of it?

For me – I call the other side of it ‘reality’, not ‘negative thinking’.

For me there really isn’t a negative thinking. I don’t have any room for that in my mind. I do have “reality thinking” that is sort of the same thing – but, not really.

Reality thinking is when I look at the big picture and I realize that probability tells me I won’t be able to do something. Maybe I don’t have enough support, money, skills, or whatever it is. I have to face reality. I’m missing some crucial piece of the puzzle. It’s not negative thinking.

Negative thinking occurs when one has all the skills, money, support, or whatever – and yet thinks he/she cannot do the action.

Negative thinking occurs when you believe the world is conspiring against you and the result will be failure.

Negative thinking occurs when you say, “I can’t.”

Negative thinking occurs when you’re unhappy with job, family situation – any part of life that isn’t going well.

Negative thinking can dominate a person’s life and the only way to turn it around – to change your whole outlook is to start making yourself happy.

I said it before, I’ll repeat it because it was a life changing event in my life…

My uncle John told me when I was about 15… “You’ve gotta make yourself happy in the end because nobody is going to do that for you. You make all the decisions in your life that either make you happy or don’t make you happy.”

Then while I was in graduate school at my practicum at the Florida Mental Health Clinic, Dr. Barry Naster told me, “Nobody is looking out for your best interests except you. Not your mom, dad, friends or lovers. Nobody is looking out for your happiness, for your best interests like you have to. Who else can do it like you?”

I think that sums it up… positive thinking requires happiness in your life. It requires seeing something every single day that you can do that keeps you happy. It requires decisions that move you toward a life of happiness, not one of obligation or indebtedness to institutions, family or friends.

Positive thinking occurs spontaneously in some, and is the result of changing focus for others. If you’re not enjoying positive thinking during 90% of the days in a month – you must get there because life is sliding by and you’ve only got 40-80 years left.

I know, there’s not even one person out there saying to themselves every single day…

“Now what can I do to make Vern’s life happier?”

There’s not even one person out of the more than 6 billion people in this world. What does that tell me?

It’s just ME.

I need to ask myself that question every single day of my life.

It’s the same for you – whether you’re happy and can live your life in a positive thinking mode or not – is completely up to you. It’s your job.

What a great state of mind to be in too!

Make it happen!

Best of Life!

Find me at Twitter HERE >

The secret to positive thinking if all else fails? Move to Hawaii and experience it, even if just for a year. Experience the magic that only the Hawaiian islands can show you…

(Photo: Flickr CC. JAIRO BD)

12 thoughts on “Positive Thinking: Becoming a Positive Thinker

  • at 11:02 am

    Great post. You are very right. Until we take full responsibility for our own life we will never truly be happy or positive. It is easier to create your story and drama when you can blame others for the failures in your life.

    I do believe there just might be someone who during most days might say or think, “How can I help make Vern happy today?”. I know I have someone like that.

    I know what you mean about TV. Sometimes I will veg in front of it for a time. Other times I actively watch and question things. Several people have told me, “It’s just entertainment, just watch and let yourself be entertained.” But I know even those seemingly harmless entertainment shows can have an influence, consciously or unconsciously.

    Oh by the way here in Thailand when some people read this post and see TV they won’t be thinking of television.

    • at 11:28 am

      Hi Darwin, thanks for writing a comment here…

      Ah, you’re alluding to my beautiful wife… ? Yes, sometimes I’m sure she says that… but what I’m getting at is that even if she’s saying that every day she doesn’t really have the power to do it. Only I have the power to make me happy. Only I know what makes me happy inside. She knows a lot of things – and she’s the most unbelievably sweet, unselfish woman I’ve ever known in my life… seriously – I think she’s already enlightened… I think every one of us is responsible to ask us the question about how can we be truly happy today. Did you ask yourself yet today Darwin? ASK IT! lol…

      TV is the lifesucker of 98% of the US population. TV viewers watch hours of it everyday. They think it’s harmless… because they never look at the alternatives… wow, I could be spending time doing something with someone I love rather than watching lines of digitized light and audio coming across a box with glass 8 feet from my face. I could actually be helping someone get through this life instead of sucking up air and using oxygen accomplishing nothing at all.

      There are two times to be a fungus doing nothing but existing and sucking oxygen. One is while sleeping. The other is after you’ve just done something – mental, physical, whatever – and you need a break. Taking a couple breaks throughout the day to relax and kill the stress levels that are building up is recommended. Four plus hours of watching TV is not. It’s making you dumber because you’re not taking advantage of all the other opportunities you have.

      In the last 22 years since I was 20 I’ll bet I’ve watched 100 hours total of television. Guess what? I’m doing just fine. I missed about 16,000 “important” news events on TV and did it affect me? Not negatively!

      If I could have one wish it would be to make advertising illegal. Consumers would have to go looking for things they ‘needed’. The entire world is in a state of brainwash after experiencing a few trillion dollars of advertising over their lifetimes. Whole societies – EVERY society has been shaped by this force… advertising showing us what we need, what we’ve gotta have to BE Americans… to be Europeans… to be healthy, to be smart, to be cool, to be someone that others want to know.

      What a bunch of shiagus (Is that hebrew for shit? I had a friend, Scott Mikus, that used to say that word so much it’s become a permanent part of my vocabulary – and I still pull it out when it fits the situation…)

      I think I’m getting off-track. Better stop now… Thanks for writing Darwin.

  • at 5:19 pm

    I feel good doing dishes and other ‘chores’ too – and for the same reason!

    What goes on in my head is my responsibility and doing. If I want to be positive and happy, I’ve got to think that way. If I want to be negative and unhappy, I’ve got to think that way. It’s all my choice.

    I really enjoyed, and agree with, your post. Thanks Vern!

  • at 12:18 am

    Hey Vern, I really like how you distinguished between reality thinking and negative thinking. Much of the criticism on changing thought patterns stem from a mix-up with one of these. Another distinction you have (although you didn’t mention it explicitly) is between positive and magical thinking. Positive is great, magical can be disastrous!

    Thanks for a good post 🙂

    • at 7:37 am

      Magical thinking – yes, can get people in a world of delusion. Magical thinking is part of a few DSM-IV diagnosis. I worked with some people that had it quite a bit. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of believers in whatever god they choose to believe in. Thanks for writing Albert. You on Twitter? I’ll add you…

  • at 3:48 pm

    Hi Vern 🙂
    You are absolutely right 🙂 We take care of our lifes and we need to change attitude, need to be positive thinkers.
    I had bad experience in my life I decided to change my life, change even job that makes me unhappy. It is not easy but
    I believe it is worth 🙂 I feel better now.


  • at 5:48 am

    I agree that we are in charge of our own happiness. If we want to be happy we have to do things that make us happy and think positive. Laughter and smiles are contagious so why not be positive and brighten the days of others at the same time. I read an article by a happiness coach, Med Yones, which describes outcomes of pessimistic and optimistic thinking, an interesting article with good insights. See it at

  • at 12:38 am

    Yea I’m on Twitter now – UrbanMonk. Now you bastards got me hooked on the damn thing 🙂

  • at 3:12 am

    hi im chinie from manila, whats youre twitter vern? thanks

  • at 9:53 pm

    salam! i m 100% agreed that positive thinking can change a life towards highly successfully. if u will adopt positive atitude in every filed of life and in any matters and also thanks to GOD for everything of his blessings which he gave u than he will give u more than ur expectation.

    yeah…….its true belive it.

  • at 9:13 am

    Positive thinking is bullshit. People who think that they can control every facet of life by pasting some goofy, freshly-lobotomized smile on one’s face is beyond delusional.

    Face it…the forces of government, the law-makers, the policy wonks…all of them are working for themselves and for the highest bidder. As long as you are a servant to any master, you will be spit upon, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Those that tell you life is grand is trying to sell you something.


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