Some people are content to go through life watching opportunities pass them by. They are the couch potatoes of life. Other people are proactive: They make plans and make things happen.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that your plans will succeed. If your priority in life is to avoid being disappointed, it makes sense to lower your expectations… to not even let yourself wish for things to be different.
The tipping point is when you become more interested in the rewards of a successful endeavor, than scared by the potential for failure.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean you live in a fantasy world where there is no risk of failure. To the contrary: You are very aware that, in real life, more ambitious goals entail more risks.
Positive thinking is a proactive choice: You decide to focus on the glass half full instead of the glass half empty, so that you have a chance to make your goals come true.
So I’m inviting you to take risks. Not crazy risks. Relatively safe risks, but risks nonetheless. Not for the thrill of taking risks, but as a way to expand beyond your comfort zone.
I talked about “relatively safe risks”. To explain what I mean, I’ll make a distinction between the outcome and the consequences.
If the outcome is certain, then by definition there is no uncertainty and no risk. Taking a risk means you can’t be sure what the outcome will be.
The question is about the consequences of a possibly “bad” outcome. Are they devastating? Unbearable? Would you die or be physically hurt? Or mortified? Or humiliated? Or would it just be an awkward moment?
Thinking about a risk in terms of specific consequences often helps us lift the dark clouds, the ominous sense of generalized danger that we feel in the face of uncertainty. As we face what the specifics of the consequence, we often feel less worried than when we focus on uncertainty and a generalized sense of danger.
In any case, my suggestion is that you start with relatively safe risks, and then progressively move on to more challenging situations as you build trust in your ability to deal with risk.