Many people often ask me, “Robert, how do you stay so positive and optimistic in the face of all your difficulties? You survived 15 consecutive years in California’s deadliest prisons and now here you are serving another lengthy prison sentence for something you didn’t even do. Yet somehow here you’re always smiling finding the best in every situation. How do you do it?” I keep it simple, I say, I choose to be.
Happiness, positivity, optimism, and poise, anyone can experience if they chose to. It’s a learned behavior one must consciously exercise. Negative thoughts naturally find their way into your mind without you being conscious of it happening. It just happens. Positive thoughts must be consciously injected into your mind. You must exercise your will and purposely think of positive things. In time, this will become a new habit and you find your mind filled with happy, positive, optimistic thoughts, and your life will be transformed.
When I wake in the morning, the first thing I do is thank the hire power for the blessings I have. The attitude of gratitude is so important. I next speak out loud, I expect wonderful things to happen to me today. This positive affirmation programs my subconscious mind to expect and to be alert of any wonderful things coming my way. As energy flows where attention goes, wonderful things begin to happen. There are times however when I find myself swept away in negative thoughts and focused upon my circumstances of being unjustly sentenced, stripped of my liberty, my possessions, and my children. The reality of being confined to a jail cell for 20 hours a day, for the last 3 years can easily cause me to fall into a state of despair. These are natural emotional responses for someone to experience when they focus on their negative thoughts and circumstances. It is important to understand that just as positive optimistic thoughts create and attract similar positive emotions and circumstances negative pessimistic thoughts create and attract other emotions and circumstances. When you find yourself in a negative mental attitude, immediately choose to think positively. Take control of your mind, don’t let it control you.
Many of you reading may be suffering from the economic crisis created by the coronavirus. You too may not have as much and now find yourself under unfavorable conditions. Not too sure of your future, slipping into a negative attitude. Take heart, my friends, it can and will get better. My friend I do not take light of what you, I, or any others may be suffering but what we must remember is it could always be worse. How cliche right? But it is true.
There’s always someone worse off than you or I. Count your blessings and be grateful for what you do have and not sad about what you don’t. Victor Franco’s book, “man search for meaning” Dr. Franco gives his personal account of his horrific 3-year experience as a prisoner of Hitler’s concentration camps. The atrocious and painfully horrific conditions that Dr. Franco and millions of men, women, and children suffered make anything I’ve ever endured seem so small. His personal accounts really put my sufferings into perspective. No human being should ever have to endure such an experience but Dr. Franco and many others counted their blessings and chose to be positive and optimistic in spite of their circumstances. If they could do it, so can we. In the book “During Inside” by Dr. Franco he says, “forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except for one thing, your freedom to choose how you respond to the situation. You cannot always control what happens to you in life but you can always control what you feel and do about what happens to you.”
Here are three simple steps I personally exercise to transform a negative mental attitude into a positive mental attitude. By putting these steps into practice, you will naturally feel happier, freer, and more alive.
Step 1. Analyze your attitude
Take stock of your mood and analyze your attitude towards your circumstances, towards others, and towards yourself. Your attitude determines much of what happens to you. Take a moment and ask yourself how you’re feeling. Become self-aware and identify the emotions that you are presently experiencing.
Step 2. Choose to Positive and Optimistic
If the emotions you’ve identified are anything other than positive, then it’s time to make some changes. Remember: How you feel is your choice. A good way to help elevate your mood is to write a list of all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Express the attitude of gratitude and thank your higher power for your blessings. Now, state the positive affirmation out loud, “I expect wonderful things to happen to me today.” Speak it with force. Faith and full assurance that wonderful things are coming your way. By doing this, you will begin to see the magic happen in all aspects of your life.
Step 3. Share it with others
One of the surest ways to keep what you have is to give it away. It’s strange how this principle works but the more you give, the more you get. If you’re feeling happy, positive, and optimistic share it with others. Be a beacon of light and shine. Radiate positivity and do a good deed. Share a kind word and be of service to someone in need. When you share what you have with others, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual the universe has a very unique and distinctive way of opening its infinite storehouse of blessing and pouring them upon you. As the old maxim holds true, a man reaps what he sows–so be a giver.
My friends, you can make the best of every situation, transforming negative into positive, growing and benefiting from your circumstances if you only choose to. Besides now to make the choice to change and then make the commitment to be positive, happy, and optimistic. Remember, wonderful things are happening to you today.