According to a 2013 Associated Press survey, 80% of America’s adults were struggling with unemployment, poverty or near poverty. That’s a lot of unhappy people. Unhappy people tend to have unhappy thoughts. Conversely, happy people tend to have happy thoughts. Cognitive psychologists call this tendency to see the world through either a negative or positive lens, mood congruency.
According to the latest science on the ability to solve complex problems through creative thought, better known as insight, negativity inhibits your ability to think clearly. When the lens through which you view the world is negative, you see nothing but problems. You become blind to opportunities. A negative mental outlook causes tunnel vision, limiting creativity. If you’re one of those 80% struggling in life, a negative mental outlook acts like gasoline, fueling the flames of negativity and perpetuating a life of unemployment, poverty or near poverty. Conversely, a positive mental outlook, according to that same science, enhances creative problem solving. A positive mental outlook is the only means to escape a life of unemployment, poverty or near poverty. But how do you flip the switch on your mental outlook?
Gratitude is the gateway to optimism and a positive mental outlook. Gratitude forces you to become aware of the good things about your life. My car started today, I was able to feed my family, I have a roof over my head, I’m healthy, I’m alive, I have a loving family, etc. When you shift your thinking to the good things about your life, you cause your brain to begin to shift from negative to positive. If you practice gratitude every day, eventually your positive mental outlook will overpower your negative mental outlook. Gratitude changes the lens through which you view your world, from negative to positive. And when that happens you’ll begin to see solutions to your problems. Ideas will pop into your head that will help you climb your way out of your unemployment, poverty or near poverty. Expressing gratitude every day is not some pseudo, new age b.s. Gratitude is the gateway to optimism and a positive mental outlook. It’s the means to transforming your life from one filled with limitations to one filled with unlimited opportunities.