In The Power of Positive Thinking, the author, Norman Vincent Peale, states, "A sense of inferiority and inadequacy interferes with the attainment of your hopes, but self-confidence leads to self-realization and achievement." Peale, a consummate salesman, understood that positive thinking is not a genetic attribute or otherwise inherent characteristic of the persona, but a way of life - a philosophy. Positive thinking is indeed a philosophy as challenging as any other philosophy or religion. Positive thinking is hard work. To master the skill of positive thinking, a person must practice diligently.
Everyone has two voices inside their head. If you are an athlete, you may know these voices well. As you train, one is always saying, "Go, go, go!" and the other is always saying, "Slow down, this is too much work," or, "May as well quit now; you're never going to make it." These voices are you, deciding what it is you want to do. Athletes know that in order to perform, they need to downplay the "slow down" voice and augment the "go, go, go" voice.
In life you may also hear two voices, as the athlete does, or you may hear just one voice. If you're lucky, your inner voice is telling you that you are going to make it no matter what it takes and that, no matter what, you're going to be okay. If you are less lucky, your inner voice is expressing deep misgivings about your abilities.
The good news is that you own that voice, and you can make it say what you want it to. It's really true. Whenever it says, "You're never going to make it," you say, "I'm going to make it any way I can." When ever it says, "You can't do it," you say, "I CAN do it." When it wants to be negative, you make the conscious effort to be positive. In this way you will train your inner voice to be your inner cheerleader instead of your inner nay-sayer.
Visualizing situations is a powerful tool for self improvement and for keeping a positive attitude. Whenever something happens that produces a negative result, visualize yourself in the situation as if you are viewing it from outside. Review it without emotion, like a scientist. Without emotion, think how you might have done it differently to produce a better result, and resolve that you will know what to do next time to produce a better outcome.
When you visualize yourself, accept what you see. Before you can have a positive attitude about the world you must have a positive attitude about yourself. The key to a positive self image is self acceptance. See your limitations as parameters, not faults. They are merely part of the rules of the game of life. Accept them, and work with them to achieve success.
Practice visualizing others not as superior, but as equal. Even if they are a person in authority - your boss, for example - know that they are not superior to you as a human being. You would do the right thing, if given the chance, wouldn't you? Well, most likely, so would they! Give people the chance to do right by you and most likely they will.
Go forward in life as an equal person expecting no more than your rightful share of respect and giving the same to others. In this way you can expect positive reactions from others and they can expect the same from you.
In life, one can expect the worst, or one can have realistic expectations. It maybe unwise to always expect the best because then one may expect to be disappointed fairly often. Being disappointed is not conducive to a positive attitude.
In order to have realistic expectations, a person must have experience. If your previous experience was negative, visualize how it might have turned out better. You can use previous negative experience to your advantage. You can usually expect any situation to come out better than it did the first time if you try your best.
If you do not have experience, you should seek good advice from more than one source. Weigh the advice carefully. If the advice is pessimistic, dismiss it and seek more optimistic advice. Seek advice about how to succeed, not about how you might fail. Then temper the optimistic advice with a little caution, and with common sense you should be able to arrive at a reasonably realistic expectation.
Incorporating the will to think positively with a forgiving and loving self image, self improvement and situational assessment through visualization and realistically positive expectations, a person can go forward in life on the path of positivism. Once a person embarks upon this path, they wonder how they ever could have lived the other way. Negativism, with all its worry about pessimistic outcomes is much more tiring than positivism. Think positively, and more good things will happen, but more than this, the bad things that happen won't seem so bad. The knowledge that 'everything is going to come out all right' can carry a person through the roughest of times. All one needs to do is will it to be so.