What if I told you being positive is a big waste of time? Would that be crazy? Well, trust me, It’s not. And that’s because 90% of people use positivity completely wrong. And going further, it can lead to feelings of inauthenticity and low-grade motivation at best. But there’s a way to fix this. And I guarantee that when positivity is done this way, it can be a powerful source of motivation that reinforces your confidence and pride in the process.
How Everybody Gets Positivity Wrong
You’ve seen generic motivational phrases before. You know, phrases like:
- You can do it!
- Anything’s possible!
- Just believe!
And so on, and so on. But if you’re anything like me, saying these phrases feels completely inauthentic and even a bit icky. Why is that? Because they’re not based on reality. More specifically – they’re not based on my reality. What I’m getting at is the fact that these phrases have absolutely nothing to do with my experiences, personality, or how I usually succeed in life. They’re simply canned statements that anybody can shout. And it’s impossible to ignore this fact.
“Positivity always wins. Always.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
The Key To Making Positivity Work
You’d be a fool to completely dismiss positivity altogether. You just got to know how to make it work in an effective and genuine way. And there’s an easy way to do that. The secret is simply making your motivational phrases positive and objective
The first part is obvious. Just make sure it actually feels like a motivational phrase. But objective? What does that mean? Let me first share where I learned about this technique.
There’s a sports psychologist named Dr. Jon Fader. He wrote a book called “Life As Sport,” and he talks about this technique called “Objective Optimism.” And he specifically points out that this method has been used successfully on many of his outstanding athletic clients.
(And bear in mind, results are everything in sports. There’s no space for fluffy positivity that “might” be helpful)
In fact, there’s an Israeli former welterweight boxing champion that uses this technique as well. His name is Yuri Foreman. And he repeats certain mantras in his head during a match to keep his focus and motivation strong and steady. Based on his list, it’s clear that everything he tells himself is a reminder that he’s earned his place in the ring. Here’s a few things he repeats:
- “I’ve trained hard.”
- “I’ve done all the work.”
- “I’m ready.”
Now, here’s how you can use this – think of where you’ve already succeeded in life, or where your performance is best. It can be a big or small success. Or even a reliable characteristic you have.
- Consistently going to the gym
- Getting a good job
- Mastering an instrument
- Staying calm when it matters
- Being an effective planner
Really, there’s no “too low” threshold here – every win, proven skill, and achievement counts. And once you’ve determined a few of these, just choose the most relevant one to your current goal and then turn that “win” into a motivational phrase you can use when you need it. All of a sudden, what was once a generic statement is now an evidence-based tool for motivation.
Here’s a couple of examples:
- “They chose me.” (If you’re feeling underqualified for a promotion, just remember they chose you for a reason – your skills and potential are real)
- “My calm creates power.” (If your major skill is remaining calm, use this phrase when you need to take control of haywire situations and settle things down)
- “Just another rep.” (I use this when I’m feeling resistance in the gym. It’s a reminder that I’ve already done thousands of reps before – so what’s one more?)
- “I’ve put in the work.” (Like with Yuri Foreman, if you’ve put in the training for something, don’t let that fact slip your mind when it matters. Use this phrase to put things in perspective)
As you can see, it’s much more powerful when your motivations are born from real-life experience. They carry a weight that has immediate and long term impact on your ability to get things done. And the best part is they’re custom-tailored to you as an individual – nobody else can use it but you.
“believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” – Charles F. Glassman
Your “Mantra” For Success And Motivation
These statements are kind of like using NOS in a car – when you feel yourself losing speed or meeting resistance to the task at hand, you bust it out to gain speed and momentum again. But if you use low-grade NOS instead (aka fluff positivity), don’t expect to get much mileage out of it. Instead, focus on using your evidence-based motivational phrase – aptly named by Dr. Jon Fader, the “Mantra.”
And most likely, you’ll feel motivated, authentic, and even proud because your phrase reminds you of the fact that you have wins in your life already. And now, it’s being used to fuel even more wins.So don’t wait to make your mantra and use it to gain even more success today.