Every morning, almost everyone who is trying to make a mark wakes up with only 2 thoughts — It's either
- Positive (thank God I am doing well/ life is good/ I will solve anything)
2. Negative (what am I doing/am I good enough / how do I do better)
and out of these two, the more overpowering one decided the course for the rest of our day!
Hence it is important for us to learn to let only the positive one win every day.
One sure-shot way of doing this is practicing ‘ Mindful Gratitude’. I have been doing it and I am confident that it works.
Problem: Overpowering Negative thoughts / Feelings of anxiety
First, let's understand, What gives birth to negative thoughts?
According to me, it is the following three questions that give birth to negative thoughts -:
1. What if?
What if this happens? What if this doesn’t happen? What if …… the list is endless.
2. Why he/she and not me?
Comparing ourselves with others and boy it is the easiest thing to do in this age of social media.
3. Am I good enough?
Am I good enough? Am I doing enough? Again it is a downward spiral of self-doubt.
Solution — 4 things you can do to let your positive thoughts win over your negative ones
NUMBER ONE — Your life Quadrant
Make a ‘Life quadrant’ and call it a ‘Default Gratitude’ chart
On a sheet of paper draw 4 quadrants with 4 headlines/squares (Family / Career/ Health / Means) and write 10 things under each which you have got for free and are thankful for
The target should be to write as many things as you can under each but anything above 10 is good. Take printouts of this and put it on the walls! And be thankful for them every day (being mindful)
If you want to see how easy it is or need expert help — get kids to do it! Take them to the temple/gurudwara/mosque/church — and ask them to thank god as per this sheet. I do it personally and have got my elder daughter to start doing it!
Number TWO — Practise makes perfect — maintain ‘One good thing of the day’
Next is to train the brain to end the day on a positive note by maintaining a journal where you write one good thing of the day — every day! This is magical — you will see no matter how hard the day was — something good happens every day! Close the day on this note :)
I have a list of the last 4 years on my phone! Every day, before going to sleep I write at least 1 good thing of the good! There are days when I just go to these and see how kind God has been! It also is a trick way to sleep better, you Get to think through the day and almost force your mind to end it on a positive note no matter how challenging it was. It also trains the mind to notice the smallest of nice things to make a note of. It’s the small things that eventually make a big difference.
I even encourage all team members at Sirona to follow it! Close your day with ‘GToTD’ (Good thing of the day!)
NUMBER THREE — Dream and Work on it! Manifest
Dreaming / Manifesting / Daily affirmations / Believing in the positive — whatever you call them.
Thinking positive is magical — whenever possible, think about the things you desire — imagine them as yours already and though it might sound unrealistic — the world will bring them to you! The book ‘secret’ and many other speakers talk about it — I have seen it in my own life manifest in ways which I can’t believe myself! One can do it by using the same 4 Quadrants above and write 5 things you want in each (and WHY), be positive about it and work on them. Here WHY you want them is very important — why do you need these things, what will it do!
Once the laundry list is ready, you can work on them daily. To work on them — you can divide tasks in a 4/2/1 table! Working on dreams is as essential as having dreams. Jim Rohn said — ‘Affirmations without efforts is Delusion’ — it’s essential to work hard towards the above! In my case, I remember writing a 10L monthly sale through online channels on a wall in 2017 when we had no clue how we will reach there! We have all innovative products and selling them online with no funding / no means sounded hilarious. Within a year things changed and we surpassed this, today we are many miles ahead of this number.
I used to often say our products will find a market internationally too (everyone said toilets there are clean — no one would buy PeeBuddy or female hygiene there is more evolved, and Sirona won’t sell there)! Today we sell in 4 other countries and in fact we were winners of the Amazon Global Sales Propel Accelerator program last year! I always imagined the world noticing our work- and today there is no media in the country which hasn’t written about us — in fact, now international media and reports include us / no credible corporate award which we haven’t got!
Believe me, It works!
Number Four — Pay it forward — Help others
Full Definition of gratitude is — readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
We are where we are due to many things coming together for us! The opportunities we got are a sum of — parents we were allotted / their resources and exposure and hence the school/peer group / higher education and eventually our career; For most people — these things don’t come easy but you can shift their orbit by helping them come on the right track by returning the kindness or by paying it forward. If you look around you will find many people (house help/driver/office boys etc), whose families will go through the grind because their exposure is limited — they might have the talent/desire but just don’t know the way.
Make a list of such people at work and in your personal social circle and see how you can help them make better choices — to begin with, you can take a target of 2 each (personal and professional connections you can help) — kids are great at adapting, one difference there and the life orbit will shift for their family
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean with money- it could be with your — Things / Time / Money / Lending an ear!
Just look around, Make a list
In my case- At work — we are constantly working on upgrading the skills of our warehouse team members. We even run a foundation that works with extremely underprivileged girls and teaches them the importance of Menstrual hygiene and gives them Menstrual hygiene products (especially Menstrual cups) at no cost to them. Idea is to bring them out of period poverty (most girls leave schools when they hit puberty due to a lack of resources to manage periods) — a confident/literate girl can change the course of the family!
It’s almost therapeutic to see progress made by people you have helped!
I have often heard people say that it’s the rich and famous who have everything and hence are happy (and have gratitude). However, the reality is the opposite, the ones who have gratitude are the ones who are happy!
With all the money and material things in the world — if you don’t have things which God gave you for free — life will be miserable! Hence, being grateful helps. Practice gratitude through ways shared above (or any other way but practice) and you will see how happiness has nothing to do with material wealth but with valuing what you have (and training the mind to focus on things you got for free and should be grateful for!)