We all know we need to quash negative thinking and be as positive as possible. It’s a nice idea, but often easier said than done. Being positive has huge benefits but when the proverbial hits the fan it can be really tough to remain upbeat, and even trickier to still get the important stuff done when you’re feeling down. So instead of trying to be more positive more of the time, I want to introduce you to the new kid on the block when it comes to thinking, and one you’d be wise to make your friend if you want to remain productive even when you mood tries to dictate otherwise…
I recently read an article by Dr Mike Martin, former Head of Performance Psychology at the Australian Institute of Sport, that really struck a cord with me. A friend of mine once said that I’m ‘like a dog with a bone’ when I find something I want to do, and nothing seems to get in my way – which is pretty true. I’m not easily swayed regardless of whether I’m feeling up or down – I just get up and get on with it.
Yes, I’m a positive thinker, but I also have my off-days when I feel down in the dumps and pretty negative. It happens, but it doesn’t stop me from moving forward (or not for very long anyway). So when I read Dr Martin’s article it was good to see that there’s a 3rd option when it comes to thinking which lets you escape the quest for positivity and still focus on what’s important regardless of your mood.
What I’m referring to is Performance Thinking. Here’s the difference ….Negative thinkers act negatively and hope that the people around then will be sympathetic, whereas Positive thinkers keep pepping themselves up when life gets tough, which is a tricky tactic because it’s generally unsustainable, especially when we hit unexpected roadblocks that throw us off course.
Performance thinkers however don’t need to a feel a certain way to get something done. They’re not reliant on feeling good in order to do something good, and THAT makes a big difference.
When you’re on a high it’s often MUCH easier to get the tough stuff done, but that strategy is useless when you’re having an off day and still need to be productive. Performance Thinkers however focus on taking action regardless of the emotions they’re experiencing. As Dr Martin says: –
They say to themselves “What’s next? What’s the next most important, mission critical action, that I can take, right here, right now, that’s going to help me get a result?”
By just ‘getting on with it’, they create positive emotions that fuel their actions, but the key differentiator here is that they didn’t need those positive emotions to get started in the first place, which is the more typical course of motivation for many of us.
By having a clear plan of action you can ditch the need to be in a good mood in order to have a productive day. If things don’t go to plan, or an unexpected problem pops up, it won’t throw you off course because your emotions aren’t the driver – your action plan is.
So forget hoping you’ll wake up in a good mood and ditch the need to be a positive thinker 100% of the time (it’s highly unrealistic AND unsustainable) – instead become a Performance Thinker, you’ll get a lot more done that way!
Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting
Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.
You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email email@example.com
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