Whether it be juggling, public speaking, or money management, good skills are absolutely essential. Many of us actively stunt our skill development with negative self-talk and pessimism, without ever even realizing it. So how, exactly, does positive thinking build skill sets? We can think of five ways.
1. Positive Thinking is an Energy Booster
If you’re of the skeptical variety, you might be thinking “Oh yeah, okay, I’ll just think happy thoughts and that will totally eradicate my fatigue!” Listen up, bucko, that’s exactly the kind of exhausting negative self-talk we’re discussing here. It’s never as easy as just thinking happy thoughts. Any kind of change is work – and fulfilling work usually isn’t easy. That being said, if you make the effort to shift your thinking in a positive way, you’ll find yourself with more energy in general.
When you think positive thoughts and you smile, it releases endorphins which gives you more energy. More energy means you can get more done and therefore are more productive.
2. It Opens Your Mind
Negativity often leads us to hyperfocus on the things that bring us down. When we’re mired in the swampy bog of negativity, we choose not to see the forest for the trees. “Negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you. It’s your survival instinct.” When you actively engage in positive thoughts, you open yourself up to exponential possibilities. This, in turn, enhances your creativity. It’s pretty darn soothing, too. In order for your mind and skill set to expand, you need to be open to the world.
3. It’s a Confidence Booster
Confidence is often touted as this secret quality a select chosen few are born with, but it’s a lot simpler than that. Confidence is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be cultivated. You can become more confident through mindful effort. One of the ways you can achieve this is by accurately assessing your strengths. When you take the time to take stock of your value, you’ll begin to realize exactly how much you’re worth. Consider it an issue of selective focus – knowing your weaknesses is important, but it’s not who you are in your entirety. Knowing your strengths and capitalizing on them can create a positive feedback loop, leaving you feeling better all around.
4. It Makes You a Better Team Player
We’ve all been saddled with a capital G “Grump” on a group project before. Their negative energy is often contagious. Everyone is dragged down and the collective output of your group is poorer for it. Maybe you’ve been the grump without realizing it. Regardless, studies show that “happy people are good for teams.”
Happiness at work is closely correlated with greater performance and productivity as well as greater energy, better reviews, faster promotion, higher income, better health and increased happiness with life. So it’s good for organizations and individuals, too.
Working with others is a skill unto itself. By changing your attitude, you can elevate the rest of your team. Soon enough, you’ll be the one everyone wants to pick first. That’s an envious position to be in!
5. It’s a Natural De-stressor
Stress is a result of certain inevitable biochemical reactions in the body. When we say this, what we really mean is that there’s no way to totally control the stress you feel, and not all stress is bad stress! What you can control is how you form your reactions to stress. “The path to positive thinking is recognizing when negative thoughts occur and countering them with something more uplifting.” Catch yourself when you find your inner monologue steering towards pessimism and negativity. How does this help build skills? Simply put, you learn better when you’re feeling good, and positive reinforcement of any kind is intrinsic to skill building.