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Positive thinking – Is it enough to make your dreams come true?

 Positive thinking

Many books and articles you read tell you about the power of positive thinking.  You could fill a small town library with the self-help books whose subscribe to this simple idea.  The idea is also all the rage among research psychologists everywhere.

The world loves an optimist and optimism comes pretty naturally to most of us.  There is more than one way to think positively about your goal.  Let’s say that you have a goal of losing weight

               You could say to yourself:  “I have the ability to lose weight, and I am confident I can reach my goal.”  You could think positively about your chances of success.

               You could say to yourself: “I will easily be able to avoid temptations like doughnuts and potato chips, and have no problems sticking to my new exercise regimen.”  In other words, you could think positively about easily overcoming obstacles to success.

Both statements are positive.  Can you hear the difference in the statements?  No? 

One is focused on success – having the ability to lose weight and the confidence to reach your goal.  Is that enough to make it happen?  Maybe.

The other is positive and focused on overcoming obstacles.  It includes the thoughts (negative) of what the person will have to endure to reach their goal.  Is that important?

Absolutely!  If you are not clear that goal setting includes the knowing your will run into obstacles and what those obstacles are for you, you may never reach your intended goal. 

Yes, I am saying that the negative thinking has a place in you reaching your goal.  A bigger part than you may think.  You see having success is about having the self-belief that you will eventually succeed, but also the confidence that you will have a tough time getting there. 

Is believing the road will be rocky important to achieving your goal?  For starters, negative emotions like anxiety and worry are useful, although they are seen as negative.  Those negative thoughts can motivate us to take extra effort or to plan how we will deal with problems before they occur. 

Why?  In recent studies, the participants have proven people put in more effort if they feel the goal will be hard to achieve.  They take more action to achieve the goal.  In other areas of life like getting a job after college for instance, if a person feels that it will be easy to get a job after college, they send out fewer resumes.  If a person feels that the exam will be a piece of cake, they studied far less than others in the class. 

So, what is the best way to set goals so that you will reach them?  The optimal strategy to use when setting a goal seems to be to think positively about how it will be when you achieve your goal, while thinking realistically about what it will take to get there.  It is called mental contrasting –first you imagine attaining your goal, then you reflect on the obstacles that stand in your way.

Mental contrasting only helps you commit to achieving a goal if the goal is something you really believe you can achieve.    If you don’t believe you will achieve the goal, mental contrasting will help you abandon an unattainable daydream.  You may go through a grief period as it is not easy to give up your idea.

Considering both what you want and what stands in your way will give you the clarity to make good decisions.  When the chances for success are high, it will increase your commitment to your goal.  When your chances are not so good, it will help you recognize that fact and move on.

Here are the steps using Mental Contrasting

  1.  Write down a wish or concern you currently have.  Something like taking a vacation to the Caribbean or moving to Hollywood to become an actor, or losing ten pounds.
  2. Think about what a happy ending would look like for your wish.  Write down one positive aspect of this happy ending (for example: how great it would be to have a fabulous body to tan on the beach).
  3. Next, think about the obstacles that stand in your way… between you and the happy ending (for example: my love of sugar tends to stand in the way between me and the thinner me who lives in my weight-loss happy ending).
  4. List another positive aspect.
  5. List another obstacle.
  6. List another positive aspect.
  7. List another obstacle.

 Do you think your chances for success are better now?  From this information, should you pursue this goal?  You have data that will help you decide.  With this information you should have a better sense of your success rate and how committed you really are to that success.

Armed with this information, you are ready to be more successful in the attainment of your goals.

Share in the comments about your experience.  Have you used Mental Contrasting?  Has it worked for you?

The 9 Most Common Reasons Freelance Writers are Needed

The 9 Most Common Reasons Clients Hire Freelance Writers

1.  The client is overworked.  The company staff writers are busy with other work and may not have time to do the project.  Or, they could do it, but not by the deadline.  The freelancer is called in to help with the client’s staff is overloaded.

2.  The client is understaffed.  There are busy times and slow times in every department.  Rather than over staff and have paid writers sitting around doing nothing in the off-season, most companies prefer to hire freelancers during busy periods.  Some companies may not have any writers on staff and must depend on outside writers of all their writing.

3.  Quality.  In some situations, a freelancer may be able to do a better job on a specific assignment.  One of the advantages of using freelancers is that you can pay for top talent on an “as-needed” basis, choosing the freelancer who is right for the particular job. 

4.  Results.  Whether it’s orders generated by a mail-order ad in a magazine, conversions on a Web site, subscriptions produced by a direct-mail package, or leads from an e-mail marketing message, the response can be measured.  And when the response can be measured, the client may be on the lookout for new copywriters who can beat his current promotion, known in the direct response industry as the “control.”

5.  Fresh perspective.  Staff writers can get bored writing about the same products year after year.  For this reason, companies turn to freelancers for renewed enthusiasm, new concepts, a new point of view, and fresh ideas.  Freelancers can approach a project with the sense of excitement and vigor the staff writers may have lost.

6.  The company or ad agency can’t do the job themselves.  This happens when an assignment comes up that is outside the company’s regular areas of expertise.  A corporation that has never used direct mail before would benefit by hiring a writer with experience in this field.  An ad agency that specializes in fund-raising and then acquired an account in computer software will probably look for a freelance copywriter specializing in high-tech.  A fund-raising writer may not understand the ins and outs of the software industry as thoroughly as a writer who specializes in that field.

7.  Unsatisfied.  The company is dissatisfied with its current suppliers.  For a variety of reasons, a company can become unhappy with the copy it is getting from its ad agency, in-house staff, or current freelance writer.

8.  The freelancer can do the job cheaper.  Most advertising and PR firm shy away from handling one-shot projects, such as a single ad, brochure, or press release.  PR Agencies work on monthly retainers, which usually start at $3,000.  Ad agencies expect clients to have and established annual advertising budget, with $100,000 a common minimum figure for small local agencies.

For the company with occasional rather than steady need for advertising and PR materials, freelancers are a cost –effective solution.  Most freelancers are available to handle single projects on a fixed-fee or hourly basis.

9.  Freelancers are more flexible and more accommodating than their other staff and agency writers.

Challenging Your Own Beliefs – Your Responsibility

It is an uphill battle

Challenging Your Own Beliefs – Your Responsibility

A man is what he thinks about all day

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Each day, we go about out day in the same general way.  We give little thought to what goes into our brains.  Our thoughts are what program our subconscious mind.  Our subconscious mind is the center of all our emotions.  When our subconscious accepts an idea, it immediately begins to execute it.  And then our subconscious uses our ideas, knowledge, energy and wisdom to find a solution.  Sometimes, that can occur in an instant, sometimes, it may take days, weeks, or even months to find a solution.  Your mind will continue to work on finding a solution.

What we think programs our mind.  Our subconscious mind will always accept what we program it to think.  Bottom line is that we are what we think about and we have the power to choose what we think.

Ask yourself these questions:  What is my dominate thought?  What specific thoughts should I deliberately place in my mind?  What thoughts are sabotaging my success?  How can I encourage actions to happen from my thoughts?  How can my rational, conscious thought come together with my emotions to complement and strengthen one another?

Closely related to directing our thoughts is our belief system.  Just as airplanes have guidance systems to direct them; we have systems guiding and shaping what we think, believe and do.

What many of us don’t realize is that we are tuned into multiple control systems at the same time.  For instance, many of your beliefs have come from your parents, spouse, and close friends, and the rules of the community, society, and even religion.  Many of these influences may conflict with one another, so we have to prioritize who or what dictates our belief system.  Without synchronizing these influences, we wander through life, always missing the target.

Here are examples of some general conflicts of interest:

The pursuit of wealth         Money is the root of all evil

Job Security                          Entrepreneurial Freedom

Spontaneous                          Planned

You only live once               Plan for the future

Spiritual                                 Grounded

Can you identify conflicts of interest in your life?  After you identify which beliefs contribute to your life, your next step is to determine which beliefs are personal truths for you and which ones may be left over, unresolved beliefs of others.

In order to truly change, grow and prosper, we need to be consciously aware of the rules we’ve made for ourselves, where they have come from, and what they’re based on.  Do they all serve your purpose? Are they sabotaging you and what you want for your life?  It is time to throw out what isn’t working for you and take ownership of YOUR beliefs.

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