As we enter the last month of 2019, it is normal to take a look back at how the year went. Human nature is to focus on the negative, so as I looked back at the year I thought about the struggles and the things that sucked. This is actually an evolutionary trait – we are more likely to remember a negative experience than a positive one. This is because we need to remember the bad things so we survive by avoiding them (our body doesn’t understand it may have just been an embarrassing moment – it thinks it could have been life threatening).
This year I joined an online group with other gym owners. One part of the group is something called Bright Spot Friday or BSF. On BSF, everyone is encouraged to share the things that went well for them during the week.
Now I am not big on sharing feelings and opening up to people I only know online so for the first few weeks I just read along every Friday as people posted their bright spots. I slowly started to get inspired by the things everyone was achieving. I decided that next week I would post a bright spot, even if it only helped to inspire someone else.
Friday came around and all I could think about was the negative things I had gone through that week, so I sat down and forced myself to come up with 2 things that went well. I posted them to the group and that was it. Then the next Friday came around and I had 3 positive bright post in about half the time. Then the next week, I already had 1 before Friday even came.
I quickly realized that I was training myself. Even on the weeks where everything seemed to go sideways, I was learning to find the good things and try to do more of them. I think it boils down to two very human things. First, we naturally tend to follow the negative side of things. That means we have to purposefully push ourselves to the positive side. Second, if you can find light when it is really dark (when things are really bad) then you are going to have no problem finding light when things are going well.
I like to read and listen to podcasts a lot. One common thread when listening to real stories about acts of heroism or people who have survived terrible times and come out the other side is that they are always able to find a bright spot, even when their situation is amazingly terrible. I now believe that seeing the glass half full is like a muscle – it is a learned trait that we can train week by week to become better at it. It also can go away if we stop practicing it.
My suggestion to you is to train yourself to look for the positive every single week. Get a notebook and do your own Bright Spot Friday by writing down 2-3 things every Friday that went well that week. If you are a member of the gym, we post our own BSF post in the FB group for everyone to talk about what went well for them (it doesn’t need to be gym related either!). Try it out, it sounds cheesy but this small exercise can change how you view the world.