Day 21: Mindset – Vigilant Positivity [31 Days of Possibility]

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

Earlier this year, two words came barreling into my brain out of nowhere. I grabbed a thick red Sharpie and wrote the two words down on a Post-It note, and stuck the note on my desk.

The words were: Vigilant Positivity.

Confession: I wrote them down a few days after I had climbed out of a deep, dank, smelly well of thick and sticky depression, caused by absolutely nothing I could identify. I kept looking at them over these past few months, wondering, “Is it a title for a book? The name of a rock band? A tagline? A battle cry of sorts?”*

Maybe they’ll be all those things and more some day. But today, for this blog post and this whole 31 Days of Possibility series, they are one thing and one thing only.

They are a vow…

A pinky-swear pledge to the soul…

A must-have mindset for success and survival for any and all people serious about pursuing and amplifying their POSSIBILITIES.

Let’s get one thing straight, though: Vigilant Positivity is NOT some one-dimensional tra-la-la Stepford Wives/Barney-palooza line dance of vacant smiling, rocking, and nodding. Nor is it a decision to pop large quantities of Prozac and wash them down with gulps of sweet red wine with a side of butter-slathered denial while listening to Bobby McFerrin, Doris Day, and Jack Johnson playlists.

Vigilant Positivity is an iron-fisted decision to do everything you can to spend the rest of your living moments choosing light instead of darkness, levity instead of melodrama, and love instead of fear.

Perhaps there are people in this world who have been able to come to this decision quickly and efficiently, and then go on their merry way with ease and grace. Most of us assume we know those people who “are just born positive.” “It’s easy for them!” “They’re so lucky – they’ve never had a bad thing happen to them, ever!”

The thing is, the more I dig and go beyond the surface with any such people, the more I’ve seen the opposite is often true. Folks who practice Vigilant Positivity are often the very same people who’ve had unthinkable tragedies, pain, suffering, and adverse experiences in their lives. They’ve seen the real Dark Side, and it’s this first-hand perspective that has spurned them to know, deep in their hearts, there IS a choice. No matter who you are, no matter what your background.

We are the captains of our own ships. We are the masters of our own mindset.

It truly is up to us to chart our life’s course in the direction we want to go, and then steer like heck toward the path of Positivity, however imperfectly, in our laughably human vessels of vibrating Energy.

I really like how Kingsley Dennis – author, researcher, and futurist – speaks about self-vigilance in a blog post he wrote for HuffingtonPost.com last month called Being Vigilant: Waking Up From Our Self-Slumber:

“Self-vigilance is more about producing a state of watchful harmony. By being more open to positive impacts and situations, a person can be more alert to develop and capitalize upon such beneficial moments and conditions. Such moments can also be developed further, and the energies extended. Yet we should also be careful not to contrive or manufacture artificial conditions that are not in genuine harmony with our state or inner priorities.” – Kingsley Dennis

In Day 2 of the 31 Days of Possibility we talked about “Trusting the Process,” and part of that includes learning the Zen-tastic art of “Observation Without Judgment.” What Mr. Dennis is talking about up there is exactly this – realizing our infinite opportunities to shift the feelings and appearances of our circumstances by NOTICING our stories about them, and then shifting our thoughts about them.

I want desperately to say this is wicked easy. In my experience, it most certainly is not.

At this point in my own journey, I’m pretty sure this Vigilant Positivity route has a lifelong learning curve attached. (Just like yoga, and just like, well, life, it turns out!) Still, I will say it seems to get easier – a little easier every year, and eventually a little easier every day, at least on the good days.

I will share a tip, what seems to be a wholly counter-intuitive secret to choosing Vigilant Positivity as a way of life. Before we can make the iron-fisted decision to train our minds and hearts toward love over fear, we must…we simply must…

SURRENDER.

And there’s soooooo very much to surrender. We must surrender old habits, unflattering environments, and sometime lifelong relationships.

We must surrender what The Buddha called “unskillful thoughts” – distracting thoughts, thoughts of ego, thoughts of gain, and worrying thoughts; thoughts connected with desire, aversion, or delusion. These thoughts don’t serve us or the people around us, and it’s up to us to learn how to notice them, and shift our attention from them to more “wholesome” and “skillful” thoughts.

We must surrender what we think are our limits and “givens” in life. Often times, this means surrendering a huge emotional attic of stories we’ve told ourselves, and have been told by loved ones. This can feel like surrendering our identities as we know them. In a lot of ways, it is.

Surrender anyway. 

Dani, the Founder of PositivelyPresent.com, wrote an insightful and honest article called Train Yourself to Be More Positive in 5 Steps that I think sums up the game pretty nicely. Again, just to be perfectly clear, I think each step is a Herculean feat in and of itself. Her “Step One, Believe a Positive Attitude Is a Choice,” could take some of us decades, let’s be real! But you can get there.

Even if you’re a skeptic, there’s mounting scientific evidence about the power of our minds in the forms of Google searches, medical journal articles, online communities, books, movies, websites, and more. Like everything, you have to BE WILLING to believe. Perhaps more importantly, you have to BE READY to believe.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

So I guess the question is, are YOU willing to adopt a new way of seeing, living, choosing, and acting? Are you ready to believe you can find the resources and support you need to honor your vital life energy, and ultimately, explore and expand your divine and wondrous POSSIBILITIES?

Ooooooh, I hope so. With radical, radiant, VIGILANT POSITIVITY, I hope so!

 

P.S. Still insisting Vigilant Positivity is something you’re born with and not something you can consciously and willingly adopt? I submit to you two videos:

1)   109 year old Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer

2)   How Nick Vujicic Triumphed Against All Odds

Stories of people like Alice and Nick abound on the Internet, and in our own communities, too. If you’ve got a favorite example of someone practicing the art of Vigilant Positivity, please, share it in the comments below!

Now check out our video for Day 21, Vigilant Positivity!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

 

 

*Okay, this is just too weird not to share. So, I did a Google search on the phrase “Vigilant Positivity,” just to make sure it wasn’t some new Nike slogan or something my subconscious had picked up. Well, it turns out I DID see it before – in a flippin’ tweet…one that I wrote back in July of 2012! So this phrase has just been swirling around in my psyche waiting to be released again to a broader playing field. So strange. I feel like I had a “Sixth Sense” moment when I saw my own name as the source of the phrase that has been needling me these many months. How’s that for a meta dose of Quantum Serendipity?

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