In this blog post I share 7 inspiring positive mindset quotes that helped guide me to achieving genuine personal growth. Each quote addresses a valuable lesson to be learnt, and I include a breakdown of each quote beneath them.
Life is a process, learn to enjoy it
The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destinationShannon Lee
Have you ever told yourself “Once I get this job I’ll be happy?” or “Once I earn this amount of money I’ll be happy?”.
Too often in life we believe that if we reach this goal or that goal then we will be happy. We believe achieving that goal will help us become more positive and we’ll become more motivated. However, unfortunately this isn’t how life works.
It’s a common misconception that reaching our destination is what will bring us happiness. However, what Shannon Lee attempts to explain in this quote is that we are most happy when we feel like we are progressing in life, that is when we are working toward something.
When you achieve your goal, the feeling of happiness you get is only temporary. We then move onto the next goal, the next destination. Therefore, to live a life of happiness is to embrace a life of change and progression.
Don’t just tell people about a goal you want to achieve, take positive action right now to begin making it a reality. Taking action now, right now, will help in developing a more positive mindset. You will start to see opportunity for progression in everything you do.
Learn to love the process and do not focus on the destination. Too many people set their sights on the end goal and then feel overwhelmed by how far away it seems. Start by working on what’s in your control right now and focus on that.
Daily Challenge: think about 5 things today that you felt a sense of accomplishment for. These don’t have to be big things, for example you might have a list that looks something like below:
1) Made my bed this morning
2) Washed up my plate after I used it
3) Went out for a 10 minute jog
4) Picked up some clutter around the house that was annoying me
5) Posted a letter I have wanted to post for weeks
Then, rate out of 10 (10 being highest) how much of a sense of achievement you got from doing that task. For example, making the bed this morning might have been a relatively easy task for me. I don’t usually do it so feel happy I did, so I rate it a 5. Whereas I really struggle to go out running so going out for a 10 minute jog scored a 10 on sense of achievement.
Acknowledge the achievements you make every day, no matter how small, and start to do more of the tasks you’re scoring highly on for sense of achievement. These tasks are most likely the ones that matter most to you.
Note: don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do lots of activities which give you a sense of achievement as you will struggle to continue with them. You need a balance; pick one or two to focus on and begin making more time for them.
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You’re not the same person you were yesterday
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river and he’s not the same man.”Heraclitus
Developing a positive mindset is tough, especially when it feels like you’re life is blending into one continuous blur. It may feel at times like you are not progressing in life. It may feel like today is the same as yesterday, but it’s not. Every day you are making observations, you are learning new skills or ideas. However too often we don’t recognise these small steps forward as we never take the time to reflect.
Daily Challenge: Want to accelerate the process of your personal growth? Open up a Word Doc or grab a pen and paper and write about how you feel right now. Ask yourself:
How do I feel right now?
Right now, I feel content and happy I’m writing this blog post.
Why do I feel like that?
Because I spent all of yesterday avoiding writing a blog post, but when I reflected yesterday I told myself I needed to stop playing video games as much. I wasn’t enjoying playing them as I felt guilty and like I was using them as a distraction from writing.
Is there anything I can do to stop/continue feeling like that?
Keep checking in on myself. It’s okay to play video games, but I need to be mindful of when I’m not longer enjoying it.
What can I do right now to make me feel powerful and in control of my life?
Finish this blog post. It’s been a challenge to get myself to sit down and write, but I’m taking action right now to finish it off. I am developing a more positive mindset through self reflection.
Note: it’s okay if you’re not sure what you’re feeling right now, this is covered off under the ‘Read more’ section below
Research your own experience. Reject what is useless. Accept what is useful. And add what is essentially your own.Bruce Lee
Very few of us are fortunate enough to know exactly what is going on in our minds and how to fix it. Our mind is complex and knowing what to do to develop a more positive mindset and find motivation for acting on changes we identify is difficult.
When I first recognised I was struggling with early signs of depression I felt completely and totally lost. I would keep trying new things, like going out for runs or trying to read in hope it’d help me feel better. But then I’d give up, or not see results quick enough and would feel demotivated when ultimately I returned to the same negative mindset and cycle of behaviour.
The moment my life changed was when I began reading up about others experience and advice, like you’re doing right now. I didn’t realise it at the time, but slowly I was beginning to understand my mind better, what negative patterns I had and who I was fighting to become.
Books, blogs and videos can provide invaluable insight into how your mind works and how to cope with what you’re struggling with. Someone might not have had the exact same experience as you, but the core struggles with motivation and negative mindset are the same.
Weekly Challenge: Research into something you’re feeling. Struggling to overcome a failure? Take a look into Ant Middleton. Unhappy with how you just can’t seem to stick to a fitness goal? Research into David Goggins. Want to understand more about the mind? You might find the book ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz interesting.
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Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.Bruce Lee
Achieving goals can be difficult and, for many, it seems like an endless struggle. We marvel at those who seem to have it all, those who have followed their dreams and succeeded. We conclude they must have been made differently to us, they must have been born with some inhuman drive for success. However, in reality they just had a positive mindset; they believed in their dreams and they took action.
The only difference between someone who wants to achieve their dreams and someone who does is action. We look at influential figures in our field and wish we were them, wish we knew their secrets of how to succeed. We spend a lot of our lives in our own mind, visualising success and what we will do once we become successful. Often this visualisation is a replacement of actual action.
Actual action is difficult, especially for things we care about. But with consistent and skilful practise, we can learn how to take action and create a more resilient mindset and positive attitude.
Daily Challenge: Take one small action right now to work toward your goal. Want to get fit? Find a routine online and do it, now. Don’t spend time worrying about which routine you should do, just pick something and go for it. Want to learn a new coding language? Watch a tutorial right now, keep it short and make it easy. If you choose an hour long tutorial, you’re unlikely to watch it all. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to work up to more substantial action. Do not get bogged down with over-thinking an action, simply go do it.
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Do not torture yourself for your past
True justice is paying only once for each mistake. True injustice is paying more than once for each mistakeDon Miguel Ruiz
So many of us put up with the day to day abuse the voice in our head gives us. It tells us we’re failures, we’re not worthy, we don’t deserve success or happiness and we listen to it. We live in a negative mindset which looks to hold us hostage in its web of lies.
But that voice in my head is me? Why would I sabotage myself when I want to be happy? I want to be successful?
The voice you hear in your head might act like you and it might sound like you, but it is not you. It is self doubt and it is a bully. Instead of accurately looking at situations or reflecting on our good attributes, as a positive mindset would do, it focuses in on our vulnerabilities and scares us into staying in our safe zone. It tells us if we leave we’re in for a much worse outcome, but this simply isn’t true.
Growth comes from trying new things. It comes from failing, reflecting on those failures and learning from them.
Daily Challenge: take just two minutes out of your day to sit in complete silence. Focus on that voice in your head and say “Hello” to yourself, you will hear the voice say hello. Then simply observe the voice and where it goes next. It might tell you this feels silly, or that this will achieve nothing, but do not listen to it, simply observe. Notice how erratic it can be. Think about a topic that distresses you, such as on a past failure and just watch how that voice in your head flips from one side to the other. There’s one side, which tries to be the voice of reason and be kind to you, and then there’s the other which tries to tear you down.
I really messed up that report last week
But you told your manager you didn’t know what to do and they didn’t help
Other people could have done it. How stupid are you to not figure it out?
But I tried my best
And it wasn’t good enough. Your best is never good enough. You’re not good enough
Sound familiar? Observe that voice. The key to this exercise is to get used to pulling yourself out of stressful or negatively spiralling situations. It’s to help you take a step back, take the emotion out of how you’re feeling and just watch that inner voice talk to itself. This will help you more rationally identify when that voice isn’t helping you and when you should ignore it.
Stop distracting yourself
Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action. You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.Ant Middleton
For two years after I finished University I spent every evening playing games or watching TV. I noticed myself begin to put on weight and felt bad about it, so distracted myself by playing more games. Then gradually I began to finding gaming less fun, until I just felt numb. Playing games occupied my attention when I played which was more desirable that just sitting around doing nothing, as nothing interested me, so I continue to play games.
I was afraid of what might happen if I stopped playing; I felt as though I would determine life was meaningless and boring. That was a terrifying thought. However, through research and reflection I began to take risks. I stopped playing games every evening. It wasn’t pleasant, I often would just sit there and feel nothing. I would just wait until I could go to bed, only to begin the awful cycle again when I woke up.
However, the less I distracted myself, the more action I began to take. I knew I didn’t want to carry on feeling numb, so I started going out for walks. At first I didn’t feel much when walking, however gradually it became a practise I learnt to find comfort in. I also started drawing more, something which I’d previously enjoyed. Again, at first it felt like a chore but gradually I started to enjoy it again.
Often we spend our lives distracting ourselves from the goals we want to achieve, from the positive mindset we want to develop. We play games, watch TV, watch YouTube, spend hours upon hours scrolling through social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. The more we do it, the harder it becomes to do anything else.
Distractions are one the biggest reasons why we never take action on our goals. We’re scared of what taking action might mean, we’re scared to fail, so we’ve learnt to go on autopilot and let life happen to us. We allow social media to draw us in and keep us entertained. We rely on TV, games and the internet for stimulation in our mundane lives.
Daily Challenge: pick a distraction you know takes up a lot of your time. For me, that’s playing video games. When you notice yourself gravitating toward your distraction, plan the maximum amount of time you want to spend doing that distraction. Then, think of an achievable amount of time within that allocated time for a distraction you’d like to spend working toward a goal.
For example, I might decide I’m going to play video games for 2 hours. I decide that out of those 2 hours, I want to spend 30 minutes working on a blog post. I decide doing it in one 30 minute hit might be too much for me, so I break it into two 15 minute sessions. Before I begin gaming, I spend 15 minutes working on a blog post. I then game for an hour, take a break for a snack and tea and spend another 15 minutes working on my blog post.
The aim here it to begin building goal orientated activities into your day. When starting off it does not matter how long you spend each day working on your goals, all that is important is that you start. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half hour or an hour.
Find what works for you – this will be personal to you which is why I haven’t specified a precise plan. However, for those who need somewhere to start, I’d recommend allocating 15 minutes out of every hour to working on your goals. Drop it down to 10 minutes if you’re really struggling, just make a start.
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Train your mind for a positive mindset
I’m more about mind over muscle. My mindset needs to be the fittest, because it drags my body through whatever needs to be done. A lot of people neglect training their mind and their self-belief, but I believe that’s crucialAnt Middleton
We are far more capable than we think we are. Often we have goals we want to achieve which are within reach, such as going out for a short run, or reading for half hour. However, our mind gives up before we even try. We overthink situations, refer back to past failures and end up exhausting ourselves mentally before we have even tried to achieve our goal.
Developing a positive mindset takes practise. You have to spend time trying, and often failing to learn how your mind works and how you can develop a more resilient mindset.
Weekly Challenge: Every time you decide to give up on something, challenge that thought and spend 1 more minute doing it. Struggling on a run? Keep pushing for 1 more minute, do not give up. Can’t bring yourself to do any more washing up? See how many more plates you can wash up in a minute. Bored of studying for a course or exam? Keep going for one more minute.
The more you do this, the easier it will become. If you’re not finding it a challenge to continue for 1 more minute, then up it to 2 minutes. Or 5, or 10. Push yourself, you’ll start to understand your limits a lot better and how capable you are. The goal here is to expose yourself to discomfort gradually, until you get used to it and it’s no longer uncomfortable. Then begin the process again.
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Achieving a positive mindset takes practise. There is no one positive thinking technique which is best, it’s about figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. Even if you don’t see the purpose in the challenges, try to give them a go as you will learn more about yourself either way. The aim is to get to know yourself really well and once you know yourself, you begin to understand your strengths and weaknesses. With that you can take a step closer toward achieving a positive mindset and understanding how to stay positive.