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The Power of Positive Thinking

Most of what we experience in life happens in our minds. We talk to ourselves via thought constantly. It’s up to each of us to make our minds good places to live or bastions of negativity. We often hear advice about cutting toxic people, places, or things out of our lives to reduce the negativity we experience, but we don’t often learn about how to induce positivity internally. Ultimately, trying to embrace positive thinking just by removing external sources of negativity is never a true solution. The negative thinking we experience is reinforced and amplified internally, and without cleaning that up, that becomes our life.


How do we go about cleaning up our minds with positive thinking? First, we need to consider what we mean when we say, ‘positive thinking.’ Its power is more than just thoughts about positive things or with affirming messages. Positive thinking is about learning how to use our minds for what they’re designed to do. A bad day usually means grabbing on to one or two negative things that happened that day and mulling it over in our mind ad infinitum. Sometimes it comes from dread of a difficult conversation or demanding challenge. We allow ourselves to make whatever real adversity comes from those things to become our own personal, internal hell. We can cut out the sources of that adversity – difficult family members, toxic workplaces, and so forth. But wherever we go, our mind is there with us.


The mind is the nosiest part of the body – which is ironic since it is not the nose. It always wants to be involved in whatever is going on. So-called “overthinking” is a chronic problem of our time made constantly worse by the outlets social media provides for it. We focus a lot on the social media feeds – what sort of content is harmful and how we can cut out inputs that don’t serve us – but we don’t focus as much on fortifying our own minds. Your mind can hurt you worse than any enemy and help you more than any friend. It all depends on how it gets used.


Positive thinking means cultivating discipline in what thoughts you give your attention to. Positive and negative thoughts are both always around. Whatever you tend to focus on becomes how you think. Positive thinking is not about filling your world with positive things. It is about holding on to the thoughts that keep you on your feet. When you encounter adversity, you remember that this is temporary. When you are not able to meet a challenge, you remember that you are more than just what you’ve become so far; you have more growing to do. When you must have the conversation that you’ve been dreading, you know that you are still capable of doing what you decide to do.


At Tumfo Tu, we have myriad mantras that serve as guideposts to our thinking in difficult times. Among Tumfo Tu instructors, you’ll find people are all over the pessimism/optimism spectrum. However, you will find that they are willing to face their adversity. They do not shy away from challenges nor convince themselves they are not capable of something. This pattern of positive thinking must be reinforced in your daily habits. Try, for example, not allowing yourself to say “try” for a day. You won’t “try” to get to the dishes; say that you will, or say that you won’t, and fulfill that. You won’t “try” to make time for that phone call; find yourself on the phone, or definitively know for yourself that it won’t happen today. Lay a foundation of mastery over your own mind. A mind disciplined like this cannot be overcome by negativity in your environment because the negativity does not get any energy. When you are the one directing your mind, you experience the power of positive thinking.

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