Train your brain

How to Recognize the Good in Every Situation Without Kidding Yourself

How to Recognize the Good in Every Situation Without Kidding Yourself
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Remember that ridiculously cheery, borderline creepy scene from Mary Poppins where the children (rightfully so) complain about having to clean up their room?

(If you weren’t forced to watch that movie in kindergarten like every other normal child on earth, the entire song that ensues revolves around a “spoonful of sugar.”)

I was never a huge fan of the film, but I could always relate to the kids in that scene. Why?

Cleaning sucks. Doing things that you don’t like sucks.

But looking back, I have to admit….maybe Poppins (despite being quite syrupy) was on to something.

Right before breaking into song, she declares: “In every job that must be done, there’s an element of fun. You find the fun, and SNAP, the job’s a game.”

Hmm. Let’s unpack that for a minute.

We assume that, by its very nature, a job isn’t meant to be fun. That’s why it’s called a J-O-B. But what if a simple mental exercise could snap you out of boredom, lethargy and negativity -- and make you excited, happy and motivated?

The key? You have to train your mind to see the good in every situation. Even situations that initially seem negative. Here are 3 ways to start training your mind to see the good in every situation:

1: Realize that success takes time and it’s totally OK to be bored in the process.

Something weird happens in our brains when we’re bored with our goals. First, we experience the irritating feeling of listlessness. That is uncomfortable, in and of itself. But that feeling of listlessness is usually followed by aggravation.

We’re bored with our lives. Then we get mad at ourselves for getting bored. Then we try to think of a way to get un-bored, and the only thing we can think of doing are the things that bored us in the first place.

Kill me now!

Try this mental reframe: From now on, I want you to begin viewing boredom not as a sign of stagnation, but as a sign of consistent, steady progress. Success is inevitable, as long as you’re doing the little things that you need to do every single day to succeed. It’s ok to be bored from Point A to Point B.

Just don’t stop.

Related: Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

2: Create a system to track your progress.

Sometimes, the biggest reason why we fail to see the good in everyday situations is that we lose perspective on how far we’ve come. You’re missing the forest for the trees.

Remember coming back from summer vacation and seeing the people who’d grown six inches? You didn’t see them for months, so their growth was quite apparent. But to them, the growth probably wasn't noticeable.

Point being, you have to start taking notice of the little, day-to-day improvements that you make. Over time, this will allow you to see how far you’ve come, and it will give you a reference point for where you want to go.

One method to track these improvements The Seinfeld Solution, which some of the world’s best thinkers use to make consistent progress.

Using a system like this will slowly train your mind to start thinking more positively about the little wins you have on a daily basis.

3: Don't get discouraged even when others discourage you.

It’s hard to pursue your dreams when your family, friends and coworkers don’t believe in you. It feels good to have people that you care about support your vision.

But whenever someone tells you that you can’t do something, that a goal is “impossible” or downright laughs in your face, don’t get frustrated.

Instead, train your mind to see their disbelief as a challenge.

Instead of saying, “They’re probably right. I can’t do it” — train yourself to think, “Ok. Now, I’ll SHOW you what I can do.”

Every time someone disparages you is an opportunity to show them how strong your vision is. Turn their negative energy into your rocket fuel and blast off.

Related: 4 Motivating TED Talks to Help You Bounce Back From Failure