Positive Beliefs: Life is a Wonderful Adventure

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When you allow more positive beliefs to your life and reduce the limiting beliefs to your life, your daily experience will not be the same, ever.

Yesterday as I listened the Awaken the Giant Within abridged edition (to my disappointment). I did pick up quite a few useful thoughts from there. Mainly there was this idea about beliefs as tables and then there are these stories that either give the table more legs or take them away.

With limiting beliefs, we ought to question them and take some legs away.

With positive beliefs, we ought to strengthen them and add more legs to the table (reasons to believe). The stronger the references, the stronger we will believe them.

Positive beliefs allow us to live more fully, we are not limited by the unseen any longer. We allow us to be something we can be.

It’s an incredible realization to see that what you believe supports your reality. I am suggesting you to become a bit positive lunatic, not completely though.

Optimism is in itself about having positive illusions about life. This makes life worth living, even if this is partially true. Optimism in itself can be dangerous too as I’ve written before.

Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the positive psychology field and also a person who has developed something he calls “learned optimism” – which can be helped to cure people who have what he calls ‘learned helplessness’. It’s very interesting concept, where he also warns of the dangers.

Stock market crashes and too overly optimism is not a good thing. Then our decisions are not based on the reality at all, but to our illusions.

With the positive beliefs, I believe we can though questioning find right mix of realism and joy of life. Life has more to offer to us than we think and we have more to offer to the life than we can imagine. That’s why we need optimism and positive beliefs.

Questions are a good tool to sharpen the thinking, and with this we can test if the reasons and references for our beliefs are true or not. By doing this the questioning exercise often enough, we quickly notice that the negative beliefs are not worth it. Positive beliefs combined with actual gratefulness makes life really joyful.

List your positive beliefs about yourself and the world.

Then make another list about the negative beliefs.

I did this exercise yesterday and  I noticed that most of the negative beliefs that popped up didn’t make much sense. I started writing right away reasons that these are actually causing more pain than any good to me and I started to distance myself to these thoughts.

At the same time, I started seeking more positive beliefs. In fact since my imagination was only limited, I could come up with a few good ones, yet I felt lacking something. Then I tried googling and right away for example this list of 100 positive beliefs comes handy, you can take a belief or two from there that really resonate with you and make it your own.

Life is a wonderful adventure,

Janne

Summary of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman

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The Learned Optimism unfolds as story of how Martin Seligman’s understanding grew towards what is now known as positive psychology. There are some key concepts that click together, such as explanatory style (i.e. Optimism or Pessimism), helplessness and depression.

Helplessness, or a belief that there is nothing that you can do to change your circumstances appear to be strongly linked with depression. This is can be the downside of pessimistic thinking which optimists do not appear to have.

“Learned helplessness could be cured by showing the subject his own actions would now work.”

Pessimist strength that optimists do not have is however the more accurate sense of reality. It appears optimists are disillusioned, which can lead to trouble when left unchallenged. As example see year 2008 financial crisis, many banks and financial institutions were run by optimists alone and they were not taking action based on reality.

Each of the explanatory style has their faults. Optimists tend to think that “bad” events are only temporary while good events are permanent, where pessimists think that the bad events are permanent and good only temporary.

“What we want is not blind optimism but flexible optimism— optimism with its eyes open. We must be able to use pessimism’s keen sense of reality when we need it, but without having to dwell in its dark shadows.”

To achieve this, certainly pessimists can learn to become optimistic. This happens through set of cognitive skills, learning to dispute pessimistic explanatory style in particular. The change can be worked either alone or with the help of therapist.

“Much of the skill of dealing with setbacks, of getting over the wall, consists of learning how to dispute your own first thoughts in reaction to a setback.”


In the book there is a lot more about the method to learn a more healthy explanatory style. It also includes a test which is very helpful. There is online version of this test, which you might find even more useful.

Book on Goodreads, Amazon.