Stanley described himself as a positive person. He thought his outlook was confident and his mood was usually upbeat. But when Stanley attended a business conference, he listened to a speaker talk about the different ways that negativity can manifest in your life and your business. Here are some of the insights that Stanley learned about…
Procrastination = Hidden Negativity
Often, procrastination is a sign we’re holding onto negativity about the project or assignment we’re supposed to be doing. For example, if your boss expects you to learn how to do quarterly reports and you’ve never done them before, you might feel overwhelmed. Perhaps you even think, “I’ll never get all the work done. It’s too hard for me. I’ve never been good at simple reports.”
Because of these negative thoughts, you put off the reports. You do this week after week until you realize you only have three days left to get the work done. Then you must scramble madly and hope you can do it all on time.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with procrastination for years because they don’t realize it’s a mindset issue. But once you know this, you can begin to defeat the attitudes that lead you to put off important work until the last possible minute.
Learning as a Mask for Fear
The speaker at the conference Stanley attended told a story. He shared that he had a fellow colleague who desperately wanted to run his own web design firm and quit his day job as a math teacher.
But year after year, the teacher never acted on this desire. Instead, he was always in the process of learning “just one more thing.” He thought that if he mastered it all, he would then be qualified to work as a web designer.
While it’s important to be educated about what you’re doing, some people use ongoing education as an excuse for not taking the big leap they need to.
Understand that this negative mindset is your brain trying to be helpful. Your brain fears all change and it tells you that you can have everything you want, just as soon as you’re “ready.” This creates a negative cycle that leaves you feeling stuck and frustrated.
Rationalizations that Sound Good
For some people, negativity manifests as a list of excuses that rationalize why you’re not living the life you want. You might say, “I want to have a healthy relationship with a loving partner but every marriage in my family ends in disaster.”
The reason rationalizations are popular is because they sound like they’re true and they’re usually hard for others to challenge. For example, you say, “I want to go after my dream of becoming a singer but I can’t afford to quit my job.”
But the problem with rationalizations is they’re like watching your dreams slowly die. You may even get sympathy and understanding from those around you. They’ll reconfirm your justification by say things like, “Of course, you can’t. No one expects you to rise above this obstacle. It’s just too much.”
You need to fight against rationalizations with everything in you. Many people have healthy relationships, despite coming from difficult home lives. There are dozens of singers who worked two or three jobs until they hit it big.
Don’t let negativity manifest in your life as procrastination, over-preparation, or rationalizations. If you recognize these attitudes, take steps to combat them so you can become the best version of yourself.