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It’s easy to respond with negativity in a negative world. But what if one negative thought leads to a day of bad action? Would you think different?

Some believe it is your attitude that determines your altitude. And choosing to think with positivity only leads to a better day.

If we dwell on the things that are bad, we never make space for the things that are good.

In this episode, you’ll discover the power of positive thinking (and how it helps you avoid a bad day).

Show Highlights Include:

  • Bob the Pessimist’s most powerful advice about prospering in an imperfect world. (1:23)
  • How to fix your mind with Apostle Paul’s four major ideas. (3:06)
  • Why you’ll have a more positive day if you wake up in ‘pilot mode.’ (4:44)
  • The John Maxwell way to avoid blowing things out of proportion and limit your potential. (7:01)
  • Why the ‘Positive Shift’ adds 7 and a half years to your life, improves conversations, and revitalizes your spirit. (7:40)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thanks so much for listening today. I want to discuss being positive, specifically, the power of positive thinking.

I believe thinking positively has the power to transform our lives every single day, making a choice to consider the bright side, to seek the silver lining, to see the glass half filled. I know a lot of people laugh at that kind of attitude, but I'll tell you something, that kind of attitude can determine both our mood and our attitude for it's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude. [01:02.3]

Now, I can actually hear some of you talking right now, Rick, I hear what you're saying, but I'm more of a pessimist. Being the eternal optimist that I am, let me confess, I don't get my friends who are pessimists. I just don't. But I want to know how you think, so I decided to call someone who I believe is a full-blown pessimist. I talked to them about this podcast and I asked their permission to be interviewed. This is a person who is really one of the most pessimistic people that I know yet. He is a highly accomplished person. He agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity. Let's call him Bob.

Bob, first of all, as we started our conversation was highly offended that I called him a pessimist. I suggested he asked his wife and children as to whether he is one or not. However, Bob did give me some great insight. [02:05.8]

He commented that, quote, “Every day, every single day, I have to make mental decisions not to think a certain way. If I don't, I will quickly sink,” end quote. Bob helped me to understand something else. He also said that, quote, “Truthfully, I would not call myself a pessimist, but rather a person with pessimistic tendencies.”

Friends, do you know that by the time our conversation was over, I was convinced that all of us, yes, even us optimists, we all have pessimistic tendencies. We're human. We live in a world that is not perfect, so the issue is not pessimism or optimism. The issue is, how do we respond to life in our thinking? [02:57.0]

One of my favorite passages in all of scripture was written by the Apostle Paul. He wrote, among other things, the book of Philippians, a letter to the persecuted church of Philippi. Paul's four major themes in Philippians include being thankful, being like Christ, the goal of life, how to think, which is my focus today.

Listen to St. Paul's words found in Philippians 4, and as you listen, keep in mind that he wrote this while in prison. Paul penned this letter to the church at Philippi from a jail cell. Here it is. “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute”—that means good report—“if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” I like that last line, “dwell on these things.” [04:10.5]

Other translations state, “think on these things”, “meditate on these things”, “fix your mind on these things”. I liked that last verb, fix. Fix your mind on that which is positive. In other words, friends, set your headings on the positive.

Pilots are keenly aware that setting the proper heading determines whether you reach the right destination. As a speaker, I fly a good bit, and every once in a while, I'll get the opportunity to fly on a private plane, and I love the intimacy of a private plane and the close proximity to the cockpit. I can watch the pilots and I always enjoy watching them go through their pre-flight checklists. [05:03.1]

I'm always fascinated by how intent they are, how focused they are, especially when it comes to entering the correct headings. See, this is critical. Headings determine direction. The slightest error and you're off course. I want you, for a moment, to consider a flight from the West Coast, let's say, Los Angeles, to our nation's capital in Washington, D.C. Just a slight adjustment of a few degrees to the north and the plane could end up off-course. I'm talking about a couple of hundred miles off-course, maybe even as north as New York, possibly even Hartford, Conn., perhaps even as north as Boston 400 miles away.

I know this about me. As optimistic as I am, if I don't determine early how I'm going to think that particular day, in other words, if I leave my thinking to chance, there is a good chance I won't have positive outcomes that day. Friends, make a deliberate choice to set your headings on positive. In the words of Bob, make mental decisions to think a certain way. [06:16.3]

I've discovered that how I think about something really does influence my life. It influences my attitudes and my behaviors. How I process something affects whether I'm going to have a good day or whether I'm going to fret and worry all day.

How I choose to think impacts relationships, influences conversations. Truthfully, it even determines whether or not I'm going to get easily offended that day—and input is very important. What we feed our mind, what we feed our spirit becomes critical. For me, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible is my top priority, followed by literature, especially literature on positive thinking. That reinforces my priorities. [07:04.5]

In his book, The Winning Attitude, John Maxwell noted that, quote, “Our attitude determines our approach to life and is the only difference between success and failure.” Maxwell offers a revealing discussion of negative thinking. He argues that negative thinking creates clouds at critical decision times, blows everything out of proportion and limits our potential.

I'm enjoying a great book right now, the work of Catherine Sanderson. In her remarkable book titled The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity, Dr. Sanderson explores the emerging field of positive psychology, which examines the factors that can determine physical and psychological well-being. [07:58.7]

Interestingly, Dr. Sanderson seems by her own words to be a pessimist. I want you to listen to how she describes herself in the book. Quote, “There are indeed some people who are naturally happy and who do consistently see the world in an overwhelmingly positive way. These are the kittens and rainbows people. If you're one of those people, congratulations. Unfortunately, I am not. I worry about far too many things. Is this traffic jam going to make me miss my plane? Is that pain in my stomach a sign of cancer? Is my son with his mediocre grades ever going to get into college? My natural tendency is, quite honestly, one of doom and gloom.”

This is the least likely as a person to write a book on strategies for finding happiness and I believe her work based on scientific studies and positive psychology is well worth the reading. [09:01.7]

As Sanderson researched, her knowledge expanded. She began making shifts in her life and she became convinced that our happiness, our state of health, even our longevity, is determined largely by how we think about ourselves and the world around us.

Friends, here's just a tease from Dr. Sanderson's book, what she refers to as a few fascinating findings from her research.

“Spending time on Facebook makes us feel sad and lonely.”

How about this one? “Expensive name-brand medicines provide better pain relief than generic stuff, even if they share the same ingredients.”

Think about this one. “Placing a cell phone on a table reduces the quality of a conversation.”

Consider this. Patients in a hospital room with a view of nature, recover faster from surgery than those without. [10:03.6]

Here's my favorite. “People with a positive mindset about aging live on average 7.5 years longer than those without.”

Now, to get all the reasons as to why you’ve got to read the book, the book is titled The Positive Shift. I highly recommend it.

Here's the bottom line, friends. Our thinking determines our outcomes. Righteous living depends on right thinking. Peaceful living depends on right thinking. Joyful living depends on right thinking. Positive living depends on right thinking.

So, before your feet hit the ground each and every morning, tell yourself, “My goal is to think positively this day, to find joy in something or someone, to look for a way to help someone in need, to offer someone this day a word of encouragement.” [11:12.3]

Just like a pilot entering those coordinates, establishing the headings, we must deliberately and accurately enter our headings every single day into the brain. That is if we're determined to keep the direction positive. I want to tell you, friends, there is nothing like challenging yourself every single day to consider what might be, to think about what could be. It inspires the soul. It energizes the spirit.

In the words of the great Zig Ziglar, “Positive thinking won’t allow you to do anything, but it will allow you to do everything better than negative thinking will.” Friends, let's dwell on these things for a while, and just like Bob, let's consider making some mental decisions to think from a positive point of view. [12:11.2]

That's going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking the most important question I can ask, how ya livin’?

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.

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