Are you a positive thinker, a possibility thinker, or a positive possibility thinker? There is a difference. A positive thinker challenges negativity. A possibility thinker challenges impossibility.
A positive possibility thinker brings a super-charged state of mind to challenges, problems, and seemingly impossible situations that says, “It can be done and I definitely can do it.”
Unlock Your thinking
Here are 12 keys to unlocking your thinking to become a positive possibility person.
Be persistent. In the face of challenges, adversity, unsuccessful efforts, and the seemingly impossible, keep going. When you’re persistent, you are energized. Your dedication breeds confidence. Be patient, thinking for the long-term, doing the little things now, knowing there will be future rewards, even turning what you and others thought to be impossible into the possible.
Focus on the positives. When you dwell on the negative, you tend to generalize and use all-or-nothing thinking. Past experiences and our social conditioning cause us to focus on what could happen. Focusing on the negative, you'll tend to emotionalize. This will wear you down. Affirm the positives, remembering they may be hard to find. Take time to explore specifics to find the “silver lining.” This will energize you.
Monitor your self-talk. Millions of thoughts stream through your mind every day. Many are negative. They can burrow into our thinking, infect your emotions, become part of the fabric of who you are and how you interpret what's possible. They become part of the dialogue you have with yourself. When you face a challenge or an opportunity that seems impossible, listen to your self-talk. Challenge the negative thoughts.
Focus on solutions. Our default reaction is to focus on the problem. Instead of asking why or how something occurred, stressing over the problem, ask what can be done to solve the problem, what's possible. When the circumstances allow, take the time to consider solutions. The longer you brainstorm the problem, the better chance you have of turning the impossible into the possible.
Entertain different perspectives. When you confront a problem or a task that seems impossible, mentally walk around it, viewing it from different angles. Make sure you defined the problem properly. Compartmentalize the problem into more manageable parts. Conversely, explore if the problem is part of a bigger issue. Engage in what-if thinking. Get into the habit of looking at things from different perspectives
See obstacles as opportunities. When you change your perspective there’s a good chance you’ll discover opportunities. Instead of accepting the impossibility of the problem, give it some space. Time can be a catalyst of inspiration. A new day can bring an opportunity-seeking attitude, a fresh way of looking at the obstacles. When you discover opportunities, take advantage of them.
Keep looking ahead, not backward. You can’t control the past, but you can control the current moment, the way you respond now. If you have negative past experiences that affect the way you perceive things, face them, and put them in their place, behind you and out of sight, out of mind. Focus on what needs to be done. Ironically, part of being a positive possibility thinker, is to recognize it is impossible to undo what’s been done.
Be willing to endure naysayers. Family, friends, and trusted advisers may try to discourage you. They may be concentrating on what’s impossible and a negative outcome, while you may see positives and possibilities. They may have legitimate concerns, but if you've done your "homework," be courageous and steadfast. Be willing to listen to wise counsel, but also willing to look beyond accepted “truth.”
Have an open mindset. We all have mindsets. There are two types of mindsets, closed and open. In a closed or stagnant mindset, there are fixed attitudes and assumptions that will always influence our thinking, resulting behavior, an openness to possibilities. Your willingness to question assumptions, explore alternatives, and change as needed based on experiences and opportunities that arise, open up windows to possibilities.
Face your fears. No matter how positive we may be, no matter how anxious we are to prove something is possible, the fear of failure with its ancillary fears lurks in the shadows of you mind. Acknowledge your fears, imagine the absolute worst that could happen. Once you've faced what could happen, put it in perspective. Call upon your positive inner strength and move on.
Embrace needed changes. When we think about what's possible, we may have to make changes in our lives. Regardless of a change being positive or negative, adjusting to the new realities can be challenging. We can accept and adapt to change, moving on, or we can fail to adapt to it, and even fight it. When we embrace the change, we're on the positive side of the possible.
Get God involved. Whether you’re a God-fearing person or an atheist, you can be a positive possibility thinker. But the “God Standard” of positive possibility thinking is the person who realizes they need God, the creator of all possibilities, as their source of inspiration and hope. As Christians, it’s important we center ourselves in God’s Word, seeking to discern his holy and true will, to remain positive, act positively, and expect good things to happen, even the impossible.
As a Christian, your persistence in your daily walk should be fueled by a confident hope in what God’s Word makes crystal clear, with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). This should be the basis for every action you take as a positive possibility thinker especially when it is in the Lord's service helping others.
Listen to God's Words
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Also read: Job 11:13-20, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:14
In the Words of Others
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Thomas Merton
“My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the ways our minds have instructed our eyes to see.” Muhammed Yunus
Think About It
Where are you on the mindset continuum? Positive or negative? Closed minded? Open minded? Somewhere in between? Describe why.
When you're faced with a task you feel is impossible to accomplish under the circumstances, what is your first reaction? Describe how you react after more consideration?
Choose three of the 12 keys to becoming a successful positive possibility thinker. Describe how they would help you make important decisions or solve problems.
Describe how God, the creator of all possibilities, is a source of hope for you, and a resource you can rely on as you make decisions and embrace new possibilities.