20 Simple Ways to Develop a Positive Mindset for Success

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Develop a Positive Mindset

Mindset is critical for success. It’s the one thing that will help you to keep going when you’re tired or feel like giving up after failing so many times.

Just as importantly, your mindset affects the way you behave.

As such, it can make you more attractive to other people. Or, make you repel them.

After all, who likes working with someone who’s always focusing on the negative things.

So if you want to change your outlook into one that fosters success, use the list below to help you develop a positive mindset.

What is a Positive Mindset?

A positive mindset is a way of thinking that focuses on the bright side of things. This allows you to see the good in people, situations and potential outcomes as well.

It’s worth noting that having this positive outlook doesn’t mean you don’t expect bad things or ignore them when they do happen.

Instead, it’s seeing the silver lining in these situations which allows you to make the most out of it (even if it’s a bad one).

The most important thing about a positive mindset is that it something that’s consistent. As such, it’s become a habit instead of something that you force upon yourself every now and then.

List of Positive Attitudes

A positive mindset fosters positive attitudes.

But what exactly is that?

Unfortunately, positive attitudes are too broad to describe. That’s because they’re very diverse.

So a better way of explaining it would be to show you specific examples of a positive attitudes.

AcceptingFlexibleNot JealousSensitive
AmbitiousFocusedOpen MindedSerious
AspiringForgivingOpen To Others’ Points Of ViewSincere
CaringFriendlyPerseveranceSocial Independence
DecisiveHard WorkingResponsibilityUnpretentious
DeterminedHaving Self-EsteemResponsibleUnselfish
DistantHumbleSelf-ConfidentWork Oriented

The list doesn’t cover all the positive attitudes around. But, it does give you an idea of what they are.

More importantly, you’ve probably noticed that the list covers many of the attitudes you’d aspire to have.

That’s why a positive mindset is something many people strive to achieve.

Ways to Develop a Positive Mindset

Now for the best part. How do you develop a positive mindset?

And in the process develop many, if not all of the positive attitudes with it.

Assess How Positive You Are

Do you think in a positive way?

Or do you see the negative in things first?

A simple way to see how positive you really are is to look back at a 3-5 good situations. Then another 3-5 bad situations.

For each situation, try to remember what was the first thing that crossed your mind.

For example, if something good happened to you, did you think:

  • Well, okay. That’s nice. Hope it lasts.
  • Wow! I’m really grateful. What a great day!

If you answered the former or something similar to it, then you might need to work a little bit more on your positivity.

Use Positive Affirmations


One of the best ways to start your day on a positive note is to do some affirmations.

Repeating and memorizing a list of positive words, phrases and sentences is a surprisingly effective way of ingraining a more optimistic mindset into your brain.

More importantly, doing them frequently allows them to become a part of your everyday life.

This is why self-help gurus always tell people to keep repeating to themselves who they want to become. Soon enough, you start to believe it.

Keep in Mind That How You React Affects How You Feel

Bad things are inevitable. They’re a part of life.

As such, you don’t always have control over them, even if your try your best to do so.

That said, you do have complete control on how you react to each and every situation.

That’s what makes the difference between an optimist and a pessimist.

More importantly, how you react to situations affects how you feel in the end.

For example, if you sweat the small stuff. Even the most minute of details can mess up an otherwise good day.

This reminds me of a friend who I had the pleasure of playing golf with a few years ago. In the middle of one round, his employees called to tell him that his store was robbed.

For me, that was an emergency situation. And if I were in his shoes, I would’ve probably panicked and stressed out.

He on the other hand was cool. And decided to play on.

Later, I asked him why it didn’t bother him that his store was robbed. He told me that it definitely bothered him, quite a bit actually.

But, there was really nothing he could do at that point. The robbery had been done. So, he might as well enjoy the rest of the round before going to have the deal with the situation.

Of course, the story is a bit of an extreme. Probably because he’s a very successful businessman who’s seen it all. As such, setbacks like that didn’t’ really phase him.

Lesson is, how you react to situations determine how you feel later on.

Focus on the Good/Positive, Even If They’re Small

enjoy the little things

Like everyone else, you’ll have good days, bad days and ho-hum days.

On the latter two, it really pays to focus on the positive things that happen. Even if they’re small or don’t seem important.

These are the times when you’re able to reinforce your positivity. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to take advantage of that situation, no matter how tiny it may be.

Take for example being stuck in traffic. It sucks because it’s stressful, tiresome, can make you late for your appointment and a complete waste of time.

But, this also gives you a lot of extra time. You can listen to a podcast or do self-affirmations. You can likewise spend this time to call someone you care about. Hands-free of course.

Learn to Pay Attention to Positive Things

Baby steps.

That’s the best way to gain a positive attitude or strengthen what you already have.

To do so, you can start by noticing 3-5 positive things every day. It doesn’t matter whether they’re big or small. Just start by being more aware of them.

Because it can be hard to remember them all, you can write them down in a journal. This is a great way to easily go back and appreciate all the good things that have happened in the past week or month.

Doing so can really help ward off the negativity especially on days that aren’t going right.

Savor the Good Things and Moments When They Do Happen

Stop and smell the roses.

When good things happen, don’t just shrug them aside and go on with your life. Cherish them!

Celebrating the good things makes you appreciate them more, no matter how small they are.

This allows you to enjoy life more and have a better appreciation for the good that happen.

In addition, you can likewise spend some time at the end of the day to savor the good that just happened during the last 24 hours.

In Bad Situations, Thing “What’s the Worst That Could Happen”

When bad situations happen, assess it’s consequences first before reacting.

All too often, you might find yourself over-reacting because of your emotions.

But once you calm down and put things into perspective, you may notice that it’s not as bad as it seems.

Or, in many instances, there are solutions to the problem on hand.

This allows you to focus on what you can control – the solution, instead of worrying.

Practice Being Rejected

Getting rejected is something that happens to everyone.

So, you’re better getting used to it rather than resisting it.

Whether it’s getting rejected by someone you like, your boss or your college of choice. One way of another, you will experience rejection.

The good news is, getting rejected doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world (although it may seem like it at that particular moment).

At times, it actually opens doors to something better.

Take for example, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Had he not gotten kicked out of Salomon Brothers, he would have never started his own business.

That means never becoming a billionaire, the mayor of New York City, or being able to donate millions to philanthropy.

Sure, he’s still be very wealthy. But, he wouldn’t have been as great is he is.

So what should you do?

Get used to being rejected. Here’s a super cool (and funny) TED Talk from Jia Jiang, who did an experiment where he got rejected for 100 days.

Reframe Setbacks & Failures as Steps Towards Your Goal

Failure is often thought of as being definitive.

That is, once you fail, you’re done.

But that’s hardly the truth.

In fact, take it from billionaire Mark Cuban who says, “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once.”

Interestingly, when you finally hit that right one, you’ll be called a success. And, no one will mention the failures again.

Weird, right?

So don’t worry about failing or making mistakes (as long as you “don’t burn the entire house down”).

Instead, see failures as a learning opportunity to help you become the person you need to be in order to achieve the success you’re looking for.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

enjoy the little things

Every now and then you’ll find yourself engaging in negative self-talk.

This can be thinking, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t do that”, “I wasn’t born with the talent for that” and so on.

Sadly, this makes you shy away from trying things. Often, for fear of failure or because you lack confidence in yourself.

So, whenever you find this negative self-talk creeping in, control it. And in its place, practice positive self-talk.

Over time, you’ll get better at

Surround Yourself with People Who Have a Positive Mindset

You’ve probably noticed that if you stick around a certain group of people long enough, some of their characteristics rub off on you.

This is probably why, like it or not, you sometimes behave like your parents do.

That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with positive minded people if you want to develop this kind of mindset.

If you stick around negative Nellies, they’ll likely rub off on you as well.

Get Used to Using Positive Words to Describe Yourself and Others

This is somewhat related to the previous point.

That’s because by repeating something over and over again, your brain gets used to them. In fact, MRI studies show that repeating positive statements engages certain neural pathways.

That’s why they feel more uplifting that negative statements.

And with practice, you’ll get used to using positive words about yourself and others. In doing so you become more optimistic as well.

Stop Whining and Complaining When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Everyone likes to complain. Some people whine more than others.

The thing is, whining and complaining have the complete opposite effect of repeating positive words.

Plus, they stress you out as well.

Try to remember the last time you found yourself whining and complaining about something.

In all likelihood, it made you feel bad. And, enticed to you find even more negative things to complain about.

That kind of snowball can quickly ruin an otherwise good day.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

You probably know people who sweat the small stuff.

Even in the most trivial of things, they’ll find something to complain about.

I know how bothersome this can be because I had a roommate once who was like this. The sad thing about it is, it’s contagious.

Soon enough, I found myself nit-picking on things. And finding wrong even when there wasn’t anything.

Plus, when things didn’t go right or my way, he’d blow things out of proportion.

By not sweating on the small stuff, you don’t let tiny mishaps dampen your day.

Practice Gratitude

practice gratitude

Gratitude is giving thanks for the good things in life.

Better yet, it makes you feel good about yourself.

The biggest thing I’ve discovered from being grateful is that you see the value in things, even the little ones. Plus, it makes you more satisfied and content with yourself and what you have.

Just try it…

  1. Create a gratitude journal
  2. Before going to bed each night, write something you’re grateful for that day. It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it was an insignificant thing.
  3. Sooner or later you’ll notice that there are so many things you’re actually grateful for. Sometimes , you’re not just aware of them.

Watch Funny Videos

Funny videos elicit positive emotions. They also make us happier, albeit sometimes only for a brief moment.

While it’s not productive to sit in front of YouTube watching funny cat videos all day, they do help once in a while.

This allows you to crack a smile or forget the negative thoughts so you can develop a more positive state of mind.

Don’t Belittle Your Achievements and Successes

If you’re like me, you probably have the bad habit of belittling or downplaying your achievements or successes.

In part, it’s about trying to stay humble and not seem arrogant or boastful.

As noble as that may sound, it’s not always a good thing.

That’s because you’re not giving yourself credit even when it’s due.

In a way, it’s like telling you’re brain you’re not as good as you probably are. That’s negative self-talk without the thoughts themselves.

So, what should you do?

Celebrate your successes. When people praise you for your achievements or help, thank them and accept their praise.

Stop Looking at Things as “All-Good” or “All-Bad”

This is something we probably picked up in school.

Passing and failing are two very definitive terms. There’s no overlap. There’s no space “in-between” them.

So, you and I tend to think of things as either entirely good or bad.

But, in reality, all bad things and situations have some small good in them.

Similarly, all good things have some small bad in them.

The key is to find the good in every negative situation that happens.

For example, if a project fails at work, figure out which are the faulty areas. But, make sure to note the areas of successes as well.

Find Humor When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Stop taking things too seriously.

In a study of dying peoples’ biggest regrets in life, this was one of the top ones.

That’s because we tend to take everything seriously. At times, to the point where you can lose perspective it’s actual value in the larger scheme of things.

Stop Caring/Worrying Too Much About What Other People Think

Finally, there’s caring too much about what other people think.

This can make you try to look in a certain way, do things that you otherwise wouldn’t and behave differently from yourself.

And, when they don’t accept you or people don’t like something you do, you feel down.

It’s funny how we let other people determine how happy or sad we can be.

By not caring about what other people think about you, you’ll be able to be yourself. And, see yourself in a more positive light.


Positivity starts in your mind.

It allows you to see the best things in bad situations. And, int the process, be more optimistic even when things don’t go your way.

It’s this kind of mindset that develops mental strength and grit. That’s because having a positive outlook on life prevents you from wanting to give up.

The list above are some very effective ways of nurturing a positive mindset that will help you be happier and more successful in life.

What are the things you do to foster a more optimistic outlook, especially when things aren’t going well?

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