Achieving success in the face of adversity, is an all too common story line amongst many celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

They all believe that true success has nothing to do with luck. And they all believe that if someone wants to change their life, they have the power to so.

However the feeling of being stuck, or frozen in fear is often the first stumbling step we face when trying to change our circumstance.

Have you ever found yourself in that space where you see more negatives than positives?

We all want to maintain a positive mindset while we’re making progress and improvements in our lives (like repaying debt or making a career change) but when life just plain SUCKS it can be heartbreakingly hard to stay optimistic and look on the sunnier side of life.

And I would know. When I was in US $180,000 worth of credit card debt and out of control with my finances, sometimes I felt like the world was against me. I felt so powerless to change things, and I’m embarrassed to say this now, but I also felt like a victim.

The day-to-day grind of having to make payments to my creditors and not having the money to do everything I wanted made it really hard to focus on the bright and rich future I so desperately desired. But through a lot of inner work, I learned that I needed to balance being realistic about my circumstances whilst maintaining a positive outlook and that if I did this, good things would come.

To me, the phrase “You are what you think” is a powerful idea. You don’t need to listen to the voices that are pulling you down, rather do your best to focus on what you can change. Ultimately by using the levers in your own mind you too have the power to change what you think and to shape your own race. There are many ways to stay ‘in the zone’ – and for me it comes to just two simple exercises that I learned through my journey.

And just because I am out of the debt and through the hard times, this doesn’t mean I no longer need these tools. In fact, I still use these tools on a daily basis to stay positive and keep myself focused on the bigger picture.

1. Imagine ‘it is done’. My first tool is to imagine that the solution I am working on is already complete – it’s done and dusted. By acting as if the issue has passed and a solution has been reached I can unconsciously generate positive solutions and outcomes. Early on I learned that to visualize success and not failure was the first step to action and creative solutions.

2. Look for the upside and the good. Don’t forget that setbacks, or indeed failure, pushes you to levels you never dreamed of, and can open doors you never thought possible. See setbacks, challenges and failure as a life lesson for what works and what doesn’t. What is the lesson I am learning from this and how am I going to apply it to my life moving forward?

You don’t need to be famous, or a celebrity, to look back on the lessons of life with reflection and meaning. Knowing that staying positive through the hard times can be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do… ironically it can be one of the most important lessons we can learn.


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