A couple years ago a friend gave me a journal and a pen for my birthday with a challenge to write three things every day for a year for which I was thankful, without repeating anything. She said she had done that and was completely amazed at how her outlook on her life changed. She said she found so much more to be positive about and thankful for than she had previously thought; much more than the broad strokes of home, family, food, etc. As a survivor of several major health issues, I tend to feel that I have a pretty positive and thankful outlook on life. However, as much as I enjoy reading and writing, the daily task of that introspection wearied me. The minutiae of finding something different (let alone three things) every day, for an entire year, became my sole focus of several days before I could pull myself away and let it go. I am not an “undisciplined” person because I couldn’t do the journaling, but the order I strive for in my life makes my life easier to live and not stress filled. I ended up putting that journal away and focusing my energies on something positive.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 the Word talks about the “Spirit” God gave us — our essence, our inner force, and our ability to use it boldly in a positive way. Some people really struggle with the positive in their lives. The Mayo Clinic even has articles about the health benefits that the power of positive thinking has on us (longer life, better health and coping skills, less stress). One could argue that it’s easy for an optimist to say “focus of the good things”, but it’s really about putting in the time and work (God given self-discipline) by training yourself to identify a negative inner dialogue and make small changes over time. Like the theoretical butterfly beating their wings makes a typhoon on the other side of the the world, this follows the adage “I think I can”. I think I can. I think. I can. There is even a commercial with Olympians repeating that saying—ending with them all saying “I knew I could”. Olympians, and successful people across all disciplines, know the secret to their success: ten thousand repetitions (doing something daily for at least a year) creates a new neural pathway. So through conscious work, effort, and thought—happiness, success, and optimism will make us bold in our power to do what previously was thought undoable. I think. I can.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
-2 Timothy 1:7