By Brian Robben, robbenbj@miamioh.edu

As a new school year kicks off, so do new goals, responsibilities and worries. What if I told you there is a simple way to handle it all? What if showing up for that 8:30 class could be easy? Or there’s one thought that’ll get you to the Rec three times a week instead of ordering another pizza?

There’s a tactic to conquering certain things in your life, and it’s simple: changing the way you think.

For nearly ten years, I’ve struggled with waking up before seeing double digits on my alarm clock. I like to think of myself as a night owl and I consistently stay up from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. I used to make excuses to stay awake, thinking that I was being productive when I was really typing an English paper at seventeen words per hour.

I thought, “some people are morning people and I am just not, and that’s the way it is.”

When I look back on those late nights filled with Starbucks DoubleShot Espressos and Snickers bars, the excuse that outweighed all the other excuses was believing I am not a morning person. To me, there was no point in going to bed because I would wake up late and lose valuable time. Then I let my body sleep past my morning alarm because of my brain’s negative thoughts the night before. And staying up so late certainly did not help me wake up.

But then I trained my brain to positively believe I was going to wake up at my 7 a.m. alarm until I became a morning person. It may sound odd, but I remember actually giving myself a pep talk the night before so I would wake up on time. And, it worked. I became confident that I would wake up in time, so I started going to bed earlier. Now my days are more productive and my mornings are 100 percent less awful.

The only thing that really changed were my thoughts.

Positive thinkers create an advantage for themselves. By thinking positive about their ability to do something, they don’t give their brain and body the opportunity for an out. Critics might call this edge fanciful optimism at best, but that’s just, well, negative thinking. These critics cannot be correct when positive thoughts so often lead to empowered actions and results.

In his Forbes article, Quantum Mechanics, Spirituality and Leadership, Rajeev Peshawaria defends the power of positive thinking. When describing new research on Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to be plastic, or to change itself, he says, “we can re-wire the brain through visualization and practice to form new habits and improve performance radically.”

To put it simply, you have all the power to change that one thing that you are worried about.

In addition, Bruce Lipton, author of “The Biology of Belief” and a cellular biologist at the University of Wisconsin, says that, “our perceptions and beliefs select our genes and therefore our behavior.” This means that your thoughts will affect what action you take. If you think positively about a situation, your actions will follow; it’s not just a coincidence.

So, what if you changed your thought processes this semester? What could you accomplish by changing the way you think?

Freshmen, meet new people with a positive mindset and you are going to make friends. Sophomores and juniors, think you will receive the internship you want and go get it. And seniors, believe you will get the job or get into grad school and then make it happen.

Henry Ford’s famous words applied decades ago, and apply arguably more so today: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

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