Are you smiling right now? I want you to smile right now. In fact, the entire time you’re reading this page I need you to be smiling. It’s an important ingredient to absorbing the information contained within.
Much better – now let’s get down to it…
Have you ever heard of the postulate: “Lead with the mind and the body will follow; Lead with the body and the mind will follow”? If not, let me explain – it’s an awesome concept.
Your psychological state and your body language are very, very hard to separate. It’s called congruency (in line with each other, or on the same page). For example, it’s tough to smile and sit up straight when you’re thinking about something that makes you very sad. Try to remember the last time you had a wonderful evening with your significant other, or picture your child having the time of their life on a merry-go-round while furrowing your brow and frowning. It feels strange – it doesn’t compute.
The cool thing about congruency is that we can use it to our advantage. How? Change the one that you want changed, by changing the one you have most control over. Let me give you two examples:
- Let’s say that you are about to speak in front of a couple dozen people for whatever reason, and you’re feeling nervous about it – frightened even. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel confident, powerful and assertive right about now? Then use your body, so that your mind will have to follow. Stand up straight. Open your eyes wide and look straight ahead with your head up. Poke your chest out a little and smile (not a humorous smile, more like one of those “I got dis” smirks). I promise your mind will have no choice but to start feeling more in control of the situation.
- Let’s talk about the opposite situation where you are about to talk to someone of the opposite sex… You know that he or she can read body language like a book, and if you slouch, avoid eye contact, use a limp handshake, etc, you are going to make a terrible first impression. So, how can we be sure that our body language is good? By changing our psychology (mind) and our body will have to follow. Start thinking of times when you’ve been confident, not shy, not timid, and positively aggressive. Remember the times when you met with a peer/colleague that you respected and liked a lot, or a time in which you were very successful and proud of a personal accomplishment. Your body language will fall in line with this, and you will make a good first impression because of it.
I speak of these congruency tricks because i want to talk about how important having a positive attitude is at all times. So, if you have trouble with a negative state of mind, you can use congruency to continually push yourself back into a positive frame. It’s important.
When I say “positive attitude at all times”, I’m talking about being like a friend of mine that I’ve known for about 5 years. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, or applying a negative perspective to anything, ever. Now, I’m not saying he’s perfect, and I don’t know what he’s like when he’s not around me, but that doesn’t concern me, or any of the people who are close to him. What I like about being around this guy is how he carries himself through the world, and how he makes me feel when he’s around.
I think the worst I’ve ever seen the guy would have to be something I’d describe as ‘somber’. I can count no more than three times that I’ve interacted with my friend in which he was not 100% positive energy.
Do you know what a track record like that does? It makes the world a better place. It makes people friendly – not just toward him, but toward each other. It brightens up the room. It puts everyone in the vicinity into a mood that is conducive to advancing and winning. It makes you smile.
My days are always brighter when I’m fortunate enough to come in contact with my friend, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. If you don’t have friends like this, that always elevate your psychological state, then I have a challenge for you: BE that friend.
You might contend, “C’mon man, it’s not possible to always be positive.” and I would disagree with you. I understand that as humans being we sometimes encounter great loss and hardship, or even trauma. In those times, you will not be smiling, laughing, or happy, but there is a difference between experiencing pain in a positive way, versus turning your pain into negative aggressive or masochistic behavior. No one is going to look down on you for being in pain, but what makes a good person a great person is not letting negativity in. We can all be that great person, if we choose to be.
I’ve tried to be more and more like my friend ever since I met him. Now that you know him too, I want you to strive for the same. The awesome thing about being a positive, cheerful person is not just that “it makes the world better so you should do it.” It also helps YOU and your life progress as well! When you bring positivity and good emotional energy to every encounter, you will naturally attract more people who want to be on your team and inadvertently want to help you succeed in your life’s mission. Do you know what that quality is called? It’s called Charisma – and it’s one of the coolest qualities you can aspire to.
One other thing that I’ll talk more about in the future (but I think is relevant here) is being present – living in the now. There is no past – it’s gone. There is no future – it doesn’t exist, and when it gets here, then it will be the present.
- Regret/Revenge is negative energy about the past – Forgive yourself and others.
- Worry/Jealousy is negative energy about the future – If it hasn’t happened yet, stop giving it energy.
- Being assertive and having courage are positive ways to deal with negativity in the present.
Although we’ve never had this exact discussion, I believe my good friend adheres to these tactics, and thus it makes him the person that he is: Positive, and Present. Now, that’s a recipe I like.
So, that’s all I have to say about always keeping a positive attitude. Now that you’re finished reading, you can stop smiling… but I’d like to urge you to continue anyway.