Negativity could be the best thing that has ever happened to you.
Bet you don’t hear many self-development coaches say that too often, eh?
When you don’t know what you want – it can seem like the entire world is working against you. Here you are, out in the universe, with no freaking clue what to do about your life (whether it’s a career choice, relationship advice, mid-life crisis – whatever!) and it stresses you out even more! It’s like one huge game of hide-and-seek and you’re it. Where do you even begin?
So consider this…Knowing what you DON’T want can be just as valuable!
Here’s how you can use negativity to your advantage…
PURPOSE…COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE!
If you’ve always been one of those people whose known what you wanted to do in life, consider yourself lucky. I was too, up until a few years ago. (Get the full story here ) If you have a clear idea of what you want to pursue, you might still encounter heartache and rejection, but at least you have your eyes set on the prize. If you don’t have a prize in mind, what can you work towards? Your life becomes a poorly written movie without a plot. A joke without a punch line. It’s not cute .
It’s a strong human desire to feel like we are making progress with our life, to know that our time on earth is amounting to something. Maybe it’s finding your calling (well, we got you covered there, with our Quick Guide to Finding your Purpose ) or maybe you need guidance with long term financial planning. Not knowing how to move forward can drive you NUTS.
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME CHEESE WITH YOUR WHINE?
Here’s a trick – hone in on what you DON’T want out of life. It’s that simple. And sometimes, it’s the only thing you can manage to muster. Before I founded Soultiply, I had terrible visions of sitting in a stuffy room all day with boring white walls surrounding me. One year would turn into two would turn into three…until I hit twenty years or more! This was the nightmare that would play over and over in my head and it haunted me every day. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I ABSOLUTELY knew what I didn’t want. Instead of agonizing and complaining about how I was BOUND to become a cat lady and live the rest of my life muttering to myself and smelling like mothballs…I decided to use the whining to my advantage.
UTILIZE YOUR INNER-DETECTIVE
Brush off the trench coat and polish your magnifying glass because it’s detective time, kiddo. If you have a clear vision of the life that you DON’T want to lead, you will soon develop an even clearer vision of what you want to pursue.
First, write down what you DON’T want in as much detail as possible. Include every unpleasant detail, every reality that you pray won’t come true. It won’t be easy or fun to do, but get it out on paper. This is your roadmap. We are going to tear this sucker apart until it’s no longer a thought you will even consider. One day, you will be shocked to remember that you even thought this horrid life was something that could be possible for you. Let’s take mine for example:
WHAT I DON’T WANT: “terrible visions of sitting in a stuffy room all day with boring white walls surrounding me. One year would turn into two would turn into three…until I hit twenty years or more!”
Now, this is where the detective work comes in. Go through the description again, and come up with opposites. Don’t analyze or judge them yet, just come up with ideas. Keep them general and write them in a list. And be sure to have an open mind – the goal is to come up with NEW IDEAS. The more options you can think of, the better. Here’s how I did mine:
WHAT I DON’T WANT: “terrible visions of sitting in a stuffy room all day (being outside, staying active, changing activities, being at the beach) with boring white walls surrounding me. (lots of sunlight, big windows, decorated place, fun music, lots of conversation and laughter, moving around, taking breaks) One year would turn into two would turn into three…until I hit twenty years or more! (never stick with one thing for too long, always try something new) ”
See what I did? I took it sentence by sentence and thought, “What’s the opposite of this particular nightmare?” and I began to free write. No rhyme or reason; no judgment.
Take a moment and look at the opposites that you just wrote down. These are the SEEDS of your future. One minute ago you had zero idea of what you wanted, and now you have a basic outline of some viable options. They aren’t fully formed ideas, but they are something tangible to work towards and refine.
Gather these opposites and begin to expand on them. Cross them out if they are something you would never actually want to pursue. For example, I crossed out “being outside”…sure, I love to venture outside, but I wouldn’t want a future that had me working outside ALL day.
Try to see if any of your opposites are similar or connect with one another. When I look at my list, I see many connections. If I started my own company and was my own boss, then I could find a private work space with lots of light and windows . I love to talk and keep active , so maybe working and helping people would be something I could enjoy. I love laughter , so I would want my business to have a positive message. And if I’m the CEO of my own business, I could set my own hours and be mobile – so the occasional trip to the beach would be possible!
Read this new dream that you created. Does it make you smile? Does it sound like something you would love? (Mine sure does – I’m smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it!) Maybe you’ve never thought of these ideas before or maybe you have. Don’t let your preconceived notions of how you will accomplish them get in your way. Imagine this new dream as the fuel that will power the car of your action. Without passion, the fuel to achieve your dream, your car will sputter and stall. And you’ll roll right back to nightmare land. We were just there , and we don’t plan on going back… right??? Right!!!
ONE POSITIVE THOUGHT TO BANISH NEGATIVITY
Now, take your nightmare description and rip it up. Tear it to shreds. It doesn’t even deserve to be on a measly piece of paper anymore. Evict it from the space it’s renting in your mind . Tell it to ge t outta here! (Imagine saying that in a New York accent, it’s much more effective!) Vow never to complain about it again. It no longer exists – you have a new vision to take its place. Keep refining, changing and honing in on your new dream. You have an idea now. And you only need one glimmer of an idea to start something new. Soultiply was a thought that I had on the subway near Port Authority (if you aren’t familiar with New York City, Port Authority is usually a place where beautiful things go to die, so I guess I was lucky!) But having a positive thought is a start . It begins to fill the void.
I’m not kidding – DITCH THE NIGHTMARE. This is literally the only time I would ever endorse even CONSIDERING a negative thought. Because the things you think about manifest in your life. That’s why it often feels like we are in a downward spiral when we get caught in our negative thinking and complaining. Things just keep getting worse and worse and it’s hard to stop that train. This new list is your Superman – it will STOP the barreling train of your negative thinking. But only if you ditch the negative thinking once and for all. You will begin to see your perception shift, and consequently – the quality of your life will improve. Let me save you years of heartache – Don’t hold on to the nightmare, you’ll only be hurting yourself. It served its purpose, and now it’s time to move forward to a better place. You are ready.
Remember – the only way you can learn is by trying. You might try again and again and again…but at least you are doing something! That’s more than you were doing when the nightmare of your future had complete control over your actions. Not knowing what to do can be the worst, because it paralyzes your ability to change the situation. The spell has been broken – you have ideas now. Now it is up to you to go out and make them happen.
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