There, I’ve said it, and yes a lot of people will disagree with me. (Albeit, after the Bokke won the rugby, more people would consider agreeing with me.) 

But did you know, while South Africans are concerned about “Brain Drain” and Moodys downgrading our investment status to junk, the Chinese, Saudi Arabia and Mercedes Benz committed to pumping R213 billion into the country this year.

It seems that they’re taking Nelson Mandela’s words to heart, “You pass through this world once and opportunities you miss will never be available to you again.”

What I’m trying to get at is, do not miss your opportunity to make a difference, but seize the chance of making an impact.

So how do we go about cultivating a spirit of positivity not only about our country, but also in our personal lives?

Yes we talk to ourselves. All the time.

For instance, it’s Monday morning. After snoozing the alarm for the 3rd time you convince yourself to check the time and realize with a shock it’s 07:49.

Rushing to work, stuck in traffic on the N3, your car shutters to a stop. Out of petrol.

You eventually get to the office with a written warning waiting on your desk.

Not the best way to start your week, but more specifically what would you be telling yourself from the point where you jumped out of bed to the moment after you finished reading your written warning? 

Your self-talk can either be pessimistic or optimistic.

There are three dimensions to your self talk:

1. Permanence

Pessimist – Believes bad events are permanent. “Monday mornings are horrible.” 

Optimist – Believes bad events are temporary. “It was a horrible Monday morning.” 

2. Pervasiveness

Pessimist – Makes a general statement. “The universe is out to get me.”

Optimist – Makes a specific statement. “At least this morning came in threes.”

3. Personalisation

Pessimist – Internalize blame. “I should’ve gotten up after I hit the snooze button the first time.”

Optimist – Externalises blame. “I should leave my phone on the other side of the room to physically get up to switch off the alarm.”

If at this point in time you feel that  your beliefs are pessimistic, and as a consequence you feel terrible, I’ve got good news for you. You can learn to be optimistic!

And you do this by using the ABC technique.

ABC stands for:

Adversity – Late for work, Out of Petrol, Written warning on my desk.

Belief – Monday is out to get me. I should’ve stayed in bed!

Consequences – I felt stupid, didn’t get much done for the rest of the day, and already made a plan to phone in sick for the following Monday.

Using the ABC technique, you identify the beliefs you form and consequences thereof, resulting from the adversity you face, and this in turn takes us to our next point.

Develop a new habit – Killing ANTs.

Did you know that every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.

Everytime you have an Automatic Negative Thought (ANT), causing uncertainty and doubt, your brain immediately releases chemicals that makes your body feel terrible. With clammy hands and tense muscles your body goes into fight or flight mode, which decreases the activity in your frontal and temporal lobes and negatively affects your judgement, learning and memory.

On the flip side, whenever you have a happy, hopeful, inspiring or positive thought, your brain releases a totally  different set of chemicals, where your hands are warmer, you breathe deeper, your blood pressure is lower and your brain works better.

So if you want to destroy depression, anxiety and negativity in your life, you need to work on disciplining your mind to kill the ANTs i.e. identify your Adversity, develop your Beliefs into positive self-talk (challenge your negative thoughts), and as a Consequence it will not only make you feel better, but it will give YOU control over your thoughts, moods and behaviors.

Scientific studies confirmed that learning to kill ANTs and develop positive self-talk is as effective as the antidepressant medications used to treat anxiety and depression!

While you’re on your journey to practice positivity and develop your self-talk, why not take it a step further and declare the things what God’s word says about you.

Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble, and we are quick to blame the devil for it, but have you ever stopped to consider that not all the adversity we face is caused by the devil?

You see Jesus taught that, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

So go on. Do a quick excersise. A bit of introspection if you will. 

What is your heart full of? What have you been speaking into your life, your marriage, your finances?

If it has anything to do with fear, uncertainty or doubt, then you are your own worst enemy and the devil doesn’t need to do a thing.

It’s never to late to make the change. Even if you start small. Take one of God’s promises, for example, “the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, placing you above and never beneath.” 

Meditate on it for a week and then move onto the next one, and before you know it, you will have developed another habit of speaking life and positivity into your circumstances.

And if you need a bit of extra inspiration, have a look at William Henley’s poem Invictus. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, because of the film with the same name. But did you know that the word invictus means “unconquered” or “undefeated” in Latin. 

He proclaims his strength in the face of adversity, but it is the last two lines in the poem that I always find to be a source of inspiration, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how you’re killing your ANTs and staying positive about our beautiful country South Africa. #ImStaying

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