By Kathleen E. Murphy
My Mom Emily Murphy had a long career in nursing, and when I was growing up, she would always tell me stories about the power of positive thinking, especially as it related to healing and the patients she was taking care of. For about a decade, my Mom’s profession as a nurse was focused on Oncology. She told me she was gifted in her ability to help people deal with their cancer, and for many years I did not fully understand or appreciate what this meant. As you would imagine, most of her cancer patients were extremely sick, and some were at the early stages of dealing with this awful disease. According to my Mom, the difference between patients and how they handled this dreadful disease was their attitude. The second thing which differentiated her patients from one another was how much they were able to apply positive thinking on a daily basis to help them make their situation better in even the smallest of ways (e.g., they were able to see beautiful trees outside of their hospital window emblazoned with all of the fall colors New England is known for).
The power of positive thinking has been written about for years, and there are many well known experts on this topic such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale who authored the book The Power of Positive Thinking which was published in 1952, and The Dalai Lama. Ironically when I was researching lists of well known optimists, there was not a definitive list of such people, but we all know they exist, and I happen to be one of them, but I am not yet known globally for this ability. How do I know I have optimism or positivity as a strength? I know this because my top strength according to the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is Positivity. Does it matter if you do or do not have an optimistic or positive outlook on life? I firmly believe it does.
Personally for me, there have been more numerous instances when if I thought about the outcome of a situation turning out well, in over 95% of the time the situation turned out to be positive. Is this because I viewed the outcome as being positive, or was it sincerely this way? Am I simply a lucky person? Or, did my positive thinking influence the outcome, and my optimistic nature have me only see the outcome as being positive, or the “glass being half full”?
My perspective and reality has been the situations I wanted to have positive outcomes generally turned out that way. If I thought about the instances the outcome did not turn out positively, there was usually some reason why the outcome was not positive (e.g., based on timing, based on location, based on other factors I had almost no control over). In the instances when the situation did not turn out positively, I think the manner in which I looked at the outcome had a great deal to do with my perception of the situation, and ultimately was less negative than I thought it would be.
Based on what my Mom witnessed as a nurse time and time again, and which would in many instances be called a “miracle”, she would tell you the power of positive thinking or being optimistic in even the most dire situations can bring you results you did not think were possible. I challenge you to pick a day to think about having everything in your day turn out well or positively, and see what the outcome of your day is like. If you are not a positive person by nature, you might need to start more slowly and take this challenge on by the hour. Being positive may take practice, but the long-term benefits and the outcomes you will see will be worth it. Take my word, as those who truly know me, will tell you I am living proof of this concept working well.
Thanks to Greg DeGuglielmo and Holden Laquerre for inspiring me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.