How can ‘positive thinking’, or focusing on the good in a situation help your business? Surely worrying about the future is part of leading a business, so how can being positive and optimistic really help in any practical sense? Let’s start with a simple exercise – think of who you consider to be the most successful person in the world. What do you think describes their approach to life – a ‘can do’ style of living or a nervous, tentative attitude?
A cynic would say it’s easy to be positive when you are a success, and it is certainly not possible to say that every successful person in the business world is a positive thinker. However, we have to accept that it is highly unlikely that when these high performers achieved their goals, that they did it with a negative mindset. Time and again in interviews, the world’s most successful business leaders cite habits like clarity, mindset and focus as the strategies that have helped them to reach their goals, and aided them in avoiding negative thoughts and self-criticism.
Most people would accept the premise that positivity outperforms negativity, but the ‘power of positive thinking’ is more than simply an optimistic mindset. When your mind is in a positive place you open up to spotting and acknowledging the good things that come your way, rather than expecting only negative things to happen. Even if your day does not go to plan, if you harness positive thinking, you can hone in on what went well and focus on that rather than dwelling on the negatives. It also means that you are more likely to surround yourself with other positive people who are more likely to support and encourage you, rather than doubt your abilities and criticise your attempts.
Problem-solving, decision making and resilience are three of the key skills that all leaders, entrepreneurs and business start-ups require, especially in time of crisis. Harnessing the power of positive thinking has a direct improvement on each of these skills. Throughout her numerous studies on the power of positive thinking, Professor Barbara Fredrickson proved the correlation of positivity with improved problem-solving and decision making.
“When people experience positive emotions, their minds broaden and they open up to new possibilities and ideas.” (Source: Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York, NY: Crown). Simply put, when you are in a positive state of mind, you are more open to learning new things, taking in new information and listening to other people’s points of view, making you better at solving complex problems, and making evidence-based decisions.
On the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur or leader, you are likely to make a few mistakes and perhaps lead a few failed business ventures. By harnessing this power of positive thinking you can also improve your resilience and speed up your recovery from setbacks. In her book, Positivity, Fredrickson states that “positive emotions help speed recovery from negative emotions,” even if the positive thinking is self-generated.
Alongside these incredible benefits, we need to remember that success only happens when we recognise and pursue opportunities. In other words, the real key to turning positive thinking into success is by positive actions.
One of the most positive actions you could take today to ensure the success of your business is getting some help. Get in touch to discuss how LJM VA Services could support you to ensure the smooth running and growth of your business.