What to Do With Negativity?
As a public speaker, I believe in the power of words and the power of positive communication. I’ve witnessed it’s effect at work in my own life as well as the lives of others. In my travels, I’ve also had the privilege to sort of follow the lives of certain individuals and watch them go from dire straits (or what seemed like failure at the time), to phenomenal levels of success. Since I may not return to a particular city for an entire year or more, I get to see the progress from a very different perspective, almost like a “before and after” scenario.
This is both exciting and fascinating to me. In almost all of the lives that have made dramatic progress, I have found one of the most common factors to be the removal of negativity, –especially negative words.
The Bible tells us that words have extreme power, –the power to create. They’re like seeds. Sometimes we don’t even really take notice of them as we’re sprinkling them around, but the words we speak reveal so much about our core beliefs and ultimately shape our future. Looking at words and their connection to what we believe, it becomes brutally clear that a person can never move past what they are saying about themselves. (The flip side of that statement is also true. A person who believes and sees themselves achieving their goals will move forward regardless of the obstacles.)
What Did You Just Say?
Have you ever really paid attention to your connection to positive or negative thoughts, words, and actions during the course of one day? Most people don’t. They get in the habit of living life on autopilot, completely unaware of the connections they are keeping alive. Ask yourself this question: Do you feel more comfortable chiming in with complaints about the traffic, the weather, your children, or the economy than you do talking to a motivated, positive person about hopes, dreams, and the blessings in our life? Does “expecting good things” almost feel like work?
Well, good news for those of you who answered yes, –you’re not alone. Habits are cultivated, nurtured and grown over time (good ones or bad) and if you’re going to experience the phenomenal results I’ve seen in some of the individuals I associate with, the way to do it is by planting new crops.
Change Begins With You
If you’re wondering where or how to begin, it may not be exactly where you were expecting. Planting new crops is referring to your own garden, not the next guy’s. I’ve heard plenty of individuals wishing they could remove negative people from their lives and surround themselves only with positive, nurturing influences. Well, that’s all fine and good for friendships, mastermind groups, and people we have the power to choose in our lives. But what about a negative employer? A negative relative? A negative coworker? Unless you plan on packing up and moving to a desert island, chances are high that you’re not going to be able to remove all of the outward influences. I’ve got an even better strategy.
If you read about highly successful individuals, they often have quite dramatic stories about outwardly negative forces at work in their lives. Some were victims of abuse, neglect, prejudice, or other obstacles. Instead of trying to change the forces from the outside, these people chose to change the forces from within. This involves our thoughts, our words, and our actions. When we change our own core view of ourselves, we can then begin to control our destiny instead of just being along for the ride.
Sound like new age, crazy talk? I assure you it’s not. I’m not giving you a “formula” or a “step-by-step” either, because it’s not as easy as that. As I mentioned, the words you speak simply reveal your core beliefs about yourself. This is especially true during rough times. I once heard a pastor say, “You only find out what kind of juice is in the grape when it’s been squeezed!” What do you reveal when you’ve been squeezed. Do you get to the end of your rope and say, “Nothing ever works out for me! I KNEW this would happen!” If so, that’s what you believe. When you hear about a coworker whose been promoted have you been known to say, “Of course he’s been promoted. Everyone else gets the breaks but it never happens for me.” Well, you may think you’re just talking out of frustration, but in reality, that’s what you truly believe.
The Bible tells us we will have what we say, but it also says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We say what’s in our heart.
So, how do we change? How did other people throw off the negativity and exchange it for a life changing, positive attitude that actually moved them toward success?
Certainly a good start will be to change your words. Stop speaking negativity over your life, your career, and your situation. But if that were the only answer or the entire picture, then it would be a formula, a matter of willpower.
Get to the Core
As believers, there’s a deeper level than just following a step-by-step rulebook and saying the right things. Our core beliefs are connected to who we are in Christ, –who God says we are. Believing who God says we are, instead of the negativity we encounter comes by finding out what God says about us and by believing (or having faith in) what He says.
Years ago, I went through quite a crisis that could have left me shuffling my way through life, proclaiming gloom and doom. I was in the middle of changing careers, believing that I was moving into the area where God wanted me and all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under me (or at least that’s what it seemed like at the time.) The position I was transitioning to fell through, I was feeling confused, and was left without any direction whatsoever. Thankfully, I turned to my friend and Pastor, David Blunt. He helped me “see” what God saw, which is a future filled with purpose, blessing, and favor (regardless of what it looked like at the moment). The situation felt negative, it looked negative, and I certainly could have started to react negatively, but Pastor Blunt told me to “trust His heart when we can’t see His hand.” By coming into agreement and aligning myself (my core belief) with that thought, I realized that everything isn’t as it seems and there was an opportunity coming right on the other side of this problem.
Since that time, I’ve gone through many storms in my life. I’ve also realized every time that it’s just a storm. Storms come and they pass, but they will also reveal what we’re made of while they’re passing over. And that’s a good thing. It can give us an opportunity to grow. If we never see what’s inside, we can live a life of self-deception, and that’s just as dangerous.
You thought this post was going to tell you how to get rid of the negative people in your life, didn’t you! Well, in a way it is. When you begin to change from the inside out, you’ll find that you will affect those around you for good. You’ll be a mentor, a positive influence, and a Godly example. Those around you will learn more about God’s goodness by watching you go through a storm than anything else. (If you blow it, don’t worry, –you’ve got an opportunity to change your attitude, your words, and your actions with each passing second. With God, you never truly blow it. Just turn around and start believing what He says about you. If you don’t know what He says, get in the Word and find out. I promise, it’s ALL GOOD!)
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord; plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11
Bryan Binkholder, The Financial Coach, is a catalyst for change in the financial industry. With a true passion to make a difference, Bryan offers practical insights on financial topics, investment strategies, and business success. As a business advisor, motivational speaker and author, Bryan is best known for exposing the inner workings of Wall Street and bringing clarity to common investment misconceptions. Be sure to take advantage of his two most popular resources: 7 Deadly Traps of Investing and The Six Pitfalls of Retirement Planning and look for his latest book, 401(k) Conspiracy, authored with Jim Winkelmann of Blue Ocean Portfolios. If you are a business owner, plan sponsor, or 401(k) plan participant, you’ll want this information.