Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa to see if there was a market for their product.
The first salesman reported back, “This is a terrible business opportunity, no-one wears shoes.”
The second salesman reported back, “This is a fantastic business opportunity, no-one wears shoes.”
Although this story has been around for a while it teaches an important lesson. Your perception is your reality.
How often do you ask yourself why?
Questioning your motives and perceptions is incredibly important to growing outside of what you know.
How often do you question why you are unhappy? Or when was the last time you question why you are pessimistic about work?
If you reflect on these type of questions you can learn how to overcome a period of unhappiness and find a way to redirect that negativity into something more fulfilling.
A while back I was really unhappy with my work situation. I had to commute, the work itself wasn’t very interesting, and the company was unorganized.
People seemed to be hired on week, only to be fired or leave the next. I couldn’t see where my role in the company factor into all of this hiring.
You know the feeling…feeling stuck.
The job market was trying to get it’s feet under it after the 2008 meltdown.
You probably can relate. Looking for another job wasn’t the smartest move but I was unhappy and wanted a job with more growth potential.
What really changed my attitude to start looking for jobs was reading about a new industry (one that I eventually landed a job in).
Every day on my commute home I would listen to a book on tape or listen to a podcast about this new industry.
Audible is great for finding business related books to listen to.
During my lunch breaks I would surf the popular blogs and read all about the latest news in the industry.
What this did was give me the confidence that I could cut my teeth in the new industry and turned my feeling of being stuck, into a feeling of optimism.
I started picturing myself working on new projects (just like the ones on my podcasts). As my excitement grew, I started including family members in on my idea of making a career change. They fully supported the idea, which increase my perception that, not only was it a good idea, but by not going for it, I was holding myself back.
I learned that personal growth can only be started from within you, but then outside affirmation can really speed up the process.
Like the shoe salesmen who sees potential in all situations, you must force yourself into a mindset of optimism and happiness in order to truly grow.
This exercise should help you get in a growth mindset
Every day either write down or say out loud one thing that you are grateful for. This sounds cheesy, but it really works.
Here is why, when you have a bad day it can be really hard to say something you are grateful for. But when you are forcing yourself to do it, you will learn that there is only one person who is viewing the day as a negative, and that is you.
I found that the things I was most grateful for were things that were out of my control and very small in terms of my day to day existence.
I honestly felt selfish and ungrateful when I wouldn’t write or say out loud what I was thankful for.
Try it, and see if you don’t grow happier and more optimistic.