What if your boss called you and told you he wanted to see you in his office at the end of the day, on a week when there are rumours of people getting sacked? What would you do?

Do you spend the next few hours feeling anxious that you could lose your job? Do you start to think of how to defend yourself in case you were given the pink slip? Or do you carry on your day as usual—thinking that perhaps your boss might only want to talk about something work-related?

If you answered yes to the last question, then good for you. You are a positive thinker. However, if you answered yes to the first two questions, don’t worry. If optimism is not your current default, the good news is you can still develop it.

You and your thoughts

The thoughts we think are constantly changing our world. They influence what goes on in our everyday lives. Our thoughts can inspire us and spur us to do great things. On the other hand, entertaining wrong thoughts can set us back. This is why it is important to control what we think.

In many of my life coaching sessions, I find that most people’s biggest hurdle is breaking out of the negative thought bubble they have created for themselves. They think they are not confident enough, or good enough to achieve what they want in life. Over time, their negative thoughts turn into self-limiting beliefs that become hard to break.

Negative thoughts and negative beliefs create a negative life. They destroy your chances of success.

It is easy to fall into the trap of negativity. You might feel bad about skipping exercise or not eating healthy that all you can think about is how lazy you are and how little self-control you have. You may have gotten into a fight with someone that you can’t think of anything else except to get even. Or you could be so stressed at work all you can do is complain instead of work your best.

By tuning in to your negative thoughts, you tune out positive options and choices that surround you.

You have the power to create the kind of life you want, and you can do that by changing the way you think.

Think positive

“See the positive side, the potential and make an effort,” the Dalai Lama once said. In short, your perspective can change everything.

Start by erasing or replacing any negative thought that comes your way. Thought-stopping helps you change how you think so that you change how you feel, but it takes practice. If you need more help stopping unwanted thoughts, don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend or a therapist.

Be willing to change. Release old negative beliefs and thoughts that stand in your way. Negative thinking and limiting beliefs put together bring one failure after another, so choose to create thoughts that empower you; thoughts that allow you to succeed and enjoy your life.

Positive exercise

We can all be guilty of negative thinking that can translate into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Try this today: Stand in front of the mirror and take a good look at yourself. I want you to deliberately find six good things about how you look, the person you are and what you have achieved in your life so far. Repeat them to yourself a few times. Try this on a daily basis; adding more to the list as you go.

This might feel strange at first, but believe me, once you tap into the positive you, this will translate into other areas of your life and you will feel much more confident and willing to believe in yourself.

Choose your thoughts

What we believe becomes true for us. So choose thoughts that shape your world in a positive way: happy thoughts, loving thoughts, uplifting thoughts.

Remember that the universe is always responding to your thinking process, so be constantly aware of what you feed your mind and consistenly choose positive thoughts. Use your mind to visualise the kind of life you like and how you are going to make it happen. Breathe love, action and determination into your vision. By creating this atmosphere of positivity, you are setting yourself up on a wonderful path of change and growth.

Focus on what’s going well. Carrying an attitude of doom and gloom only makes you see more problems. Face the future with optimism and always look at the bright side. Every experience in life is an opportunity for growth. Unlearn the negativity and think that only good things await you at every turn.

Your future is shaped by your next thought. You are what you think.