Can positive thinking change your life? There is a huge market for books, seminars, online programmes, all of which promise that you can change your life by changing the way you think. On the surface it seems perfectly plausible. How many times have you had “the day from Hell”? Everything that could possibly have gone wrong did and by the time you hit the sack you wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that World War Three had commenced and initial engagement would take place in your back garden.
I’ve had plenty of days like that, but when I analysed what had gone wrong, with one or two exceptions the day was rarely any worse than any other. The fundamental difference was my frame of mind and how I reacted to setbacks. When I looked at them as a disaster, quite possibly the forerunner to something even more calamitous I dug my muddy hole just a little deeper. When I took a deep breath and refused to cry over spilt milk, or even better looked at them as an opportunity to do something different then my day took on a far rosier hue.
At the risk of sounding like a latter day Pollyanna I try very hard not to be knocked back; I try to work from a position where I can see something positive, however small, in everything, however bleak it may appear at the outset. However, positive thinking is far more than this. Positive thinking requires you to live your future history. To behave and believe that you have achieved you greatest dream.
Now, it is probably no secret that one of my greatest dreams is to be a wildly successful author, to write books that children miss buses for they were so engrossed in the story. Alongside that I would like to make a very healthy living, thank you. Impoverished garret living followed by posthumous success and fortune is not what features on my storyboard.
It is an equally open secret that this has not yet occurred. Numerous athletes will attest that they had lived their gold medal winning moment thousands of times before they lived it for real. Living your future history is an accepted part of most athletes’ training. So why is it something that so many of us look slightly down our noses at?
I will make a small confession … when I listen to Desert Island Discs (which I do most weeks) I sometimes turn the radio down and have my own little interview with Kirsty Young; me, Gillian Smellie successful author, on how she got to where she is today. Fortunately this usually takes place in the privacy of my own car on the way to yoga on a Friday morning. But one day you will hear my story for real, on the radio and whilst it will be all news to you, it will be quite old hat to me, because I will have lived it many times before.