It turns out as much as staying positive seems like the right thing to do to reach your goals it can actually have a negative effect when done incorrectly. I recently read this book called Rethinking Positive Thinking that goes in-depth on this subject with numerous case studies that all reach the same conclusion. The issue is that when you focus on only the positive of a situation you trick your mind into feeling like you've already achieved it and this can hurt your chances of ever doing so because it can drain away the drive you need to push yourself towards your goals.
It turns out this drive is maximized when you contrast negative realities with positive goals. They tested this theory on people trying to lose weight, quit smoking, score higher on tests, and in every case when the participants utilized mental contrasting with attainable goals they came away more energized and achieved better results than the poeple who focused only on positive thinking or dwelled only on the negetives.
Whether you're applying this to a new trick you want to learn, job you're hoping to get, or getting your first sponsor this can be an extremely helpful tool in most aspects of life.
Here are the steps:
1. Think of an attainable goal. This has to be something that past experiences in your life point to as being possible.
2. Write down all of the positive aspects you can think of associated with that goal. For instance, if the goal is getting a new job the positive aspects associated could be: having more money, more freedom, feeling better about yourself, etc.
3. Now you need to focus a few of the most positive benefits. In this case, this could be: Getting a new car, moving out of your parent's basement, being able to have more time to travel, etc. The more detail you go into, the more effective it will be.
4. Write down and visualize a list of the obstacles that are in the way.
5. Just like step 3 write down and focus on a few of the specific largest obstacles. The more detail the better.
It sounds simple, but that's it. Test after test showed that people who did this had a strong chance of succeeding. This process sets your brain up to create an internal reward system that encourages you to reach your goals. You can do this technique as frequent or little as you like, studies show that each time it's practiced it can impact your behavior for weeks at a time.