Establishing the Habit of Being Positive

One of the reasons I started this blog was to combat my fear of failure, to see that mistakes can be viewed as a positive thing, that they don’t have to mean the end, they don’t have to mean giving up.

It’s quite a challenge to learn to view mistakes in a more positive light, but, if you manage it, there are lots of benefits. To quote one of my favorite quotes:

“She/he who never made a mistake, never made anything.”

Eventually, it must come down to developing a habit of being positive. So that, in the face of failure or mistakes, you can see things with a more optimistic attitude.

Can't crossed out and replaced with can

Recently, I have been thinking about how sometimes it’s not you who makes a mistake. Sometimes life is just hard, or something happens that you have no control over.

How do you respond positively, or in a way that is helpful. I know there is a tonne of really good advice for this.

One thing I find helpful is to hear stories from other people.

 An amazing example

This story has been stuck in my head since I heard it a few months ago on the BBC World Service programme Outlook.

I love this program as it always has such great stories about ordinary people doing amazing things, overcoming things and being brave.

This particular program was about Sean Fong, Fiji’s amputee Jiu Jitsu champion. Here he is talking about his story on YouTube:

I found this story so inspirational.

I am definitely more tempted to wallow and complain.

Not that I think you should ignore painful or sad events and feelings. But eventually trying to be positive must be more productive and healthy than dwelling on the thing that makes you sad.

The ‘No Complaining’ Challenge

Feelings emoticon buttons, one smiling

The other day I came across this great article on about a ’30 days of no complaining’ challenge.

I was actually looking for articles about thinking positively, but this caught my attention, and I realized that it is really all connected.

The idea is that you try not to complain, and instead replace the times you do complain with thoughts of gratitude, or of trying to understand the situation better.

You can complete the challenge in various time periods, from 24 hours to 30 days.

There are also lots of different ways of taking on the challenge. You can:

But basically you need:

  • A way of noting when you complain,
  • A plan for what you will do instead (when you realize you are complaining).

It is also probably helpful to have someone you can be accountable to, or someone to do the challenge with.

People who have done the challenge and shared their experience, say it is very hard at first, but that the results are great. Having done it for a few days, I can say it is really hard! I’m surprised at just how many of my thoughts and words are basically complaints.  

How do you stop complaining?

Stop Sign

I have no idea! But I think the first step is being aware of when you do it. Just the realization of how often I complain, has driven me to want to do something differently.

Why is it so difficult?

I think there are lots of reasons why it is so difficult. Two come to mind straight away:

Negativity Bias

I recently read this article about how we are drawn to looking on the negative side of things. So, complaining might feel like a natural thing to do but there are lots of positive effects of trying not to.

Again, that’s not to brush over difficult, sad or frustrating things. But to make an effort to think more positively in general.


It is also hard because it is a habit (at least if you are like me) and it is hard to break habits!

Habits can only be broken with consistent effort. As Mark Twain said…

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs one step at a time.”


The habit of being positive

So I guess one way of combating the fear of making mistakes is to cultivate the habit of being positive. And if you practice in the small things, when the big things – that aren’t mistakes and that you can’t control – come along, then you have a way of dealing with them.

Have you got any advice on being positive? Let me know!


Related post: 10 Great Quotes to Overcome the Fear of Failure


*images from and




2 thoughts on “Establishing the Habit of Being Positive

  1. When you struggle with another person’s personality traits, turn it into a positive. So ‘lazy’ becomes ‘laid back’; ‘interfering’ becomes ‘interested’, ‘attention-seeking’ becomes’vibrant’, and so on.

    Liked by 1 person

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