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Less Stress and More Success: 
How to Stop Negative Thinking and Habits

By Dr. Lee Jampolsky

When something isn’t working, the most obvious remedy is to change it, whatever it is. For example, a CEO will stop an out of date production practice and decide on a new system to increase the bottom line, rather than continue to lose money on the old technology. Or, a customer service manager will stop a phone practice that repeatedly angers callers and decide on a new approach, rather than continue to threaten repeat business with an ineffective method. Whatever isn’t working gets changed, especially in business.

Essentially, change is a way of life. When a process or method doesn’t yield results, most people naturally think to change it. But people don’t naturally consider change as a remedy for their own negative thinking, even when their negative thoughts limit the success of their business. Why not? Maybe because they can’t identify their own negative thought processes, or maybe they have difficulty looking at themselves objectively. Regardless of the reason, you can change these negative patterns just like any other aspect of life.

The following principles have been taught not only to the business world, but also to people in the middle of war zones and facing imminent death from catastrophic illness. If people can overcome obstacles in these situations, then it can happen in your job, your company, and in every aspect of your life.

Remember, the primary obstacles to success are always negative beliefs and habits that are self-imposed. When you practice the following techniques for stopping negative thinking and deciding on positive actions, you will successfully overcome the negative thoughts that limit you.

1. Stop Thinking: My work is meaningless, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Decide: I will do the best I can in all situations. Many people complain that they are no longer happy in their career or position. They cite many common reasons, such as not caring anymore about the work, feeling that nothing seems very important, and believing nobody appreciates their efforts.

If this sounds like you, then decide today to stop only thinking about the reasons you are unhappy and simply begin to go to work and do the very best you can. As you begin to focus less on the reasons you are unsatisfied, and more on doing the finest work you can, you will become more satisfied. Don’t wait for your job to make you want to do your best; bring your best to your job.

2. Stop Thinking: Whether I meet my goals is determined by things outside of my control.

Decide: Whatever is happening RIGHT NOW I can learn from and create opportunity. Have you ever noticed how two individuals can have similar circumstances happen, but do very different things with the experience? For example, two people can work hard and expend the same amount of energy and resources to launch a company, have similar results but different reactions to those results. If neither company truly takes off, one person may become bitter and blame others, while another person uses the experience as a way to learn and create future opportunities. The defining mindset is not thinking of yourself as a victim. Instead, learn from what is happening and create opportunity.

3. Stop Thinking: I am what I do.

 Decide: I will keep perspective. The outcome of my job situation will not make or break my life. Many people tie their personal success and survival to that of their company’s. That is, they view the survival of their business and their personal survival as being one and the same. They cannot imagine being happy if their company does not make it, and that leads to constant stress.

The key perspective that leads to more job satisfaction is to know you can choose and direct yourself to be calm inside, regardless of what happens outside. Although external change, such as a job or change in organizational structure, may be important, the most important thing you can address is the way you think in every single moment. This creates a situation where your happiness falls within your control. Typically, the quickest way to less stress and more success is to stop listening to fear. Realize that even though you may care deeply about your company, you have worth beyond its success or failure.

4. Stop Thinking: My “to do list” and accomplishments are the most important things.

Decide: Being patient, kind, and understanding can be the new foundation for success. Becoming sidetracked and stressed by a multitude of tasks and problems, and losing sight of what really matters in the long-run, are easy. In the increasingly complicated work world, it can seem that reacting quickly to endless problems, emptying the “in box” as much as possible, and keeping as many balls in the air as you can are the most important tasks.

Few retirees, regardless of their success level while working, look back at their careers and say, “I wish I had been a little less patient and more of a tyrant.” In fact, most look back and see the value of traits such as patience, kindness, and understanding, and wish they had taken more time to develop these. Use the wisdom of their perspective in order to create the job satisfaction you want now, because you will be happier in your job even when things are not going right.

Stop Negative Habits to Meet Your Goals: Negative habits can be just as detrimental to your success and happiness as negative thoughts. If you don’t change these habits, no matter what attempt you make in overcoming an obstacle—even job or organizational change—you will not find lasting satisfaction and true success. Stop the following negative habits in order to overcome the obstacles you may face daily in your job:

1. Stop blaming, because it takes you away from accountability, self-reflection, and effective decisions.

2. Stop holding grudges, because all they really do is hold you back.

3. Stop seeing value in anger, because it leads you away from inner calm and even causes physical illness.

4. Stop jumping to attack, because this will lead to lack of trust.

Less Stress and More Success Now: The biggest obstacles to success are often self-imposed negative thoughts and habits, which can lead to dissatisfaction with your job, minimized self-worth, and feelings of a lack of control. Fortunately, you can change these negative thoughts and habits just like anything else that doesn’t work, but you must decide to make the change. When you practice stopping negative thinking and habits that don’t work and decide on a new direction, you can regain your sense of satisfaction and reach new levels of success in your business.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Lee Jampolsky.

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