Are you tired of the constant onslaught of negative news? If you want to prosper no matter what the market does, readjusting your mindset is the key.
Maintaining a positive mindset in today’s turbulent economic environment is more challenging than ever. What will happen if the financial bailout doesn’t work? How will people buy homes when lenders have limited funds? How many more people will lose their jobs? As a result, how many more will face foreclosure?
While we cannot control what the markets and the government do, the one thing we can control is our mindset. One of the most powerful ways to create a positive mindset is to control your environment.
Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome, once said, “Environment is stronger than will.” Even though you intend to change your thoughts and actions, if you don’t address your environment, you will be unable to create sustainable change. For example, if you listen to the negative news around you, your environment will support you to attract negative events. Psychologists call this self-fulfilling prophecy: What you concentrate on and what you expect to happen can lead to actions that cause it to happen.
Daniel Ariely, the author of “Predictably Irrational,” conducted a study where college students listened to several elderly people describe the difficulties they had walking. After the students finished the experiment, Ariely measured how quickly the students walked through the hall leading away from the lab. The students who heard the negative descriptions actually took longer to walk through the hall as compared to the control group.
Never underestimate how much your environment can influence your success.
Many of us attempt to use willpower to accomplish our goals, with little thought given to the role our environment may play. Sadly, without a supportive environment willpower eventually runs out of steam. Our projects or great intentions die on the vine.
Ultimately, successful people manage both their thoughts and their environment. Success does not come from willpower alone. Your environment is equally important. While establishing an “ideal” environment is an ongoing process, here are four simple strategies to get you started:
1. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Choose friends that fully support your goals as evidenced by their thoughts, comments and actions. For example, if you are interested in losing weight and one friend keeps encouraging you to eat dessert, avoid eating meals with this person. This is one of the reasons that groups such as Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous are so successful — members find support from others who are going through the same experience.
2. Clean and upgrade your existing environment
Start small, whether it’s your bedroom, office or even your car. If cleaning your office or your desk is too overwhelming, then clean at least one area where you can work. Next, commit to keeping this area clean. To experience the effect this has on your productivity, work in the clean area for an hour and then work in one of the chaotic areas for an hour. Normally there will be a substantial difference in your productivity.
3. Turn off the negativity
Listening to negative comments from others can quickly destroy your positive attitude. Run from those who want to focus on how bad things are. If you can’t escape a negative rant, you can ask, “Please tell me one thing that went right today.” If the person says, “Nothing is going right,” you can point out that they have their health, a roof over their head, clean water, good food, etc. If you catch yourself falling into being negative, stop immediately and identify at least five things that are right about your life.
4. Join a mastermind group
An excellent way to upgrade your environment is to join a mastermind group or some other group of highly successful people that meet regularly to help grow their business. Jack Canfield talks about how he didn’t start making lots of money until he changed his peer group. According to Canfield, if you take the average income of your 10 closest friends and/or colleagues, you can accurately predict what your earnings will be. Upgrade your peer group and you will upgrade your income.