One question I get regularly is “how do you stay positive?”
Most of the time I struggle to really answer this question. There are several reasons why. 1. I don’t always “feel” positive. I have the same negative voices that everyone has. They are constantly in my head, reminding me of my failures and frustrations. 2. It’s who I am.
On the other hand, I have been working on being more positive for a long time. At this point, I don’t know if it’s genetic, or if it comes from a long focus. But it is (now) my default position. So it’s a little bit like asking someone “why do you like food, or running, or whatever?” The answer is often, “I don’t know, I just do.”
With that being said, I was thinking about this question the other day and realized that I do one thing that does help me set my mind right first thing in the morning. The concept is simple and foundational. Just like in a house, the foundation of your day is super important. It doesn’t matter what your house looks like. It might be straight out of a movie. The house might be huge and have all of the amenities in the world. But it doesn’t matter if you have heated floors, huge windows and a 5 car garage, if your foundation is not done right, that house will crumble.
The same is true for your day.
That’s why it’s so critical for me to own the first 60 seconds. Most people wake up and immediately start to relive yesterday. They look back at the stresses and failures of yesterday and their heart starts to race. Their mind starts to fill with dread and stress and BOOM…you are done. You are living in the past. The day is no longer yours. (The same is true if you immediately jump to the stresses of the upcoming day). I have those voices too. But when I feel that stress start to flood my mind when I first awake, I do two things.
1. I take a few deep breaths to calm myself.
2. Then I go through a simple gratitude exercise.
I think of the things in my life that I am grateful for or excited about. They might be my daughters or my co-workers or my wife or my bed. They might be projects at work, or people who have helped me. Whatever. I take a full minute to try and re-calibrate my mind and get it ready to attack the day with a different, more productive, mindset. For me, this is the foundation of the day. So try it for the next week and let me know how it works for you. Set the right foundation and the rest of your day will improve.
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