I believe a positive mental attitude is key in achieving success, however you define success. But getting and maintaining a positive mental attitude in the face of doom merchants and naysayers can be hard, even downright difficult. One of the commonest blocks to success has got to be the negative attitudes and projections of the very people you would expect to be your strongest supporters.
Your spouse, your parents and your best friend.
Think about it. If you are trying to make a change in your life, improve yourself in some way, change career, start an online business, lose weight, stop smoking, write a book, or anything at all, there will be a time when you need to change the way you think and move outside your comfort zone. This can be scary and is the time when you are most vulnerable. It is the time when you need the support of your nearest and dearest.
And it is exactly this time when your loved ones can pour doubt and derision into your brain instead, sabotaging your positive mental attitude and with it, any chance of your success. Why would they do this?
Simple. Your success affects them in a negative way.
Every relationship can be thought of as a see-saw in equilibrium. Both sides are balanced. It doesn’t matter how unequal the relationship is. It is what it is. And for as long as the people in it keep doing whatever they usually do, it can be thought of as “in balance”.
But when you decide to change yourself and do something different, this alters the equilibrium of every close relationship you are in. The see-saw becomes unbalanced.
This feels odd, uncomfortable and scary for the people in the relationship. To regain the relationship balance, or to get the see-saw back into equilibrium, the OTHER person must ALSO change, and they may just not want to. After all, THEY didn’t want to change in the first place. So they do the next best thing.
They try to stop you from changing. Instead they force you back into the box you are trying to get out of. They sabotage your chances of success by filling your mind with doubt.
Unless you are very strong, you listen to your loved ones. You listen as they tell you how worried they are that you will fail. You listen as they explain it isn’t for you and isn’t it just better to stay where you are? You start to believe them. You bury your dreams and go back to living the way you were.
OR you realise they’re scared for you, for themselves and what the new you will mean to your relationship and home life. If it will help, talk excitedly about your project to drum up their enthusiasm if you can. Show them your resume if you’re changing jobs. Explain how much time will be involved if you’re following a course. Reassure them you will still have time for them. Do everything you can to explain how you’ve minimised your risk of failure.
But accept that sometimes it’s just too hard for your loved ones to accept the changes in you. That’s why friends and family members “grow apart”.
If it’s your spouse who is the doom merchant and naysayer, you need to tread more carefully. If you KNOW that what you are doing will improve the lives of you both, then do NOT seek their approval. If it’s a big thing, like moving house to get a job, or stopping smoking when both of you smoke, then fight your corner but be prepared to compromise on things like timing. However, if you’re trying to make a success of a personal goal, like losing 30 lbs weight or learning to write poetry, find a support group and just go for it.
Sometimes your nearest and dearest just do NOT have your best intentions at heart, however much they think they do. Sabotaging your positive mental attitude by sowing doubt is one way to keep you from ultimately forcing change on them.
And vice versa.
So remember that next time YOUR loved one asks YOU to support a life change!