This blog post was written as a guest blogger for the cancer awareness site solitarius.org
When I first arrived in the States with the high flying ambition to “make it” in the music industry, someone once told me that the difference between the ones who make it and the ones who don’t is perseverance. You would think it would be talent, or even money… But it makes sense that the ones who actually make it are the ones who never give up.
When I really decided to listen to my heart and do what makes me happy I traveled from my home in Denmark to Seattle, WA - almost 5,000 miles, to pursue my dream of being country music artist. I have made a good life for myself and I still have those high flying ambitions. However, with how incredibly challenging the road has been it’s astonishing that I haven’t given up yet and chosen a different path. So how does that tie into the survivor mindset that Ken is talking about?
In my experience the survivor mindset has to do with a combination of thoughts and outlook on life and the way you choose to react to your surroundings.
Let me be clear, I have never had to survive cancer or anything like that. Life has thrown a very different scenario at me. I survived religious indoctrination and programming of behaviors, thoughts and values that were very suppressive and negative and so far away from my true self. Because of this I have gone through many hours of therapy and self help. I have dedicated my life to "re-programming” my mind toward positivity and happiness.
I now believe that we are a product of our thoughts, and that the world reflects who we are on the inside. This is a far cry from what I was taught as a child, that life happens to us and the world is something external that we react to.
I want to refer to an author named Barbara Frederickson, who has done extensive research on positivity and the effect on our lives. Her books Positivity and Positivity 2.0 are amazingly enlightening. Her research show that true contentment and happiness boils down to a happiness ratio of 3 to 1. She calls this the tipping point. What does that mean? It means that for every negative thought, word or action we need 3 positive ones to even out the negative one. 3 to 1 is the tipping point for true contentment and happiness.
"But I am such a positive person!" Are you... really? When I took the test the first time 4 years ago, my initial attitude was exactly that. The test revealed something completely different however. My thoughts and my emotions especially revealed that I had far to go before I could truly declare that I was a positive person. I actually only had a ratio of 2 to 1 at the time. This isn’t necessarily bad. At least I had two positive thoughts for every negative one. That’s quite the feat. But it was far from who I wanted to be.
A lot of people walk around with the assumption that they are way more positive than they actually are. I know, because I was one of those people. Even after years of working toward that goal I still hadn’t even reached the tipping point. We may be positive on the outside but harbor years of resentment on the inside. If you truly aspire to have a survivor mindset, these thoughts are well worth looking at.
Listen to your self talk. Become the observer of your thoughts. And when you catch yourself in a negative thought or uttering a negative sentence, how do you treat yourself afterwards?
For the purpose of this blog post (and out of mere curiosity) I took the test again. I now (at this moment in time) have a positivity ratio of 10 to 1. I am not mentioning this to boast or reflect how far I’ve come, but to give hope. The hope that even the most negative of minds can turn into a survivor mindset.
You can test your own positivity by taking the positivity test here