I should be reflecting more on this final volume’s theme, social change. Well, that is the basic idea behind a positive thinking approach to living.
The point is to improve one’s self, and thereby one’s social conditions and social environment, including the relations with others and the quality of community. One could apply any one of many philosophies or religions to this general concept of positive thinking. There are many aspects of it: morality, health, communal peace, personal achievement, self-actualization, responsibility, personal empowerment, strategic career and personal planning, aesthetic satisfaction, efficiency, benevolence, financial wisdom and accomplishment, and so on and so on. It is a perspective that can allow one to feel better about life and people, reach higher stages of fulfillment and wisdom, be more satisfied and accepting, and live more richly.
While frustrations, disappointments and conflicts are bound to occur despite the work to self-improve and view life more positively, a positive thinking outlook can help one find tools and methods by which to respond to life’s ups and downs and encounters with a wide range of different people. You know better what the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and the situation are, as a positive thinker. It thereby can help one have more control over one’s own emotions and decisions because it raises one’s consciousness about the riches and dynamics of life and people and puts the mind in gear to seek solutions and positive outcomes rather than dwelling too much on the past and problems or sources of unhappiness. That is, it gears one up for making change. Positive changes in one person have a ripple effect upon others and one’s social environment, and can even lead to social changes. Indeed, a person with a positive mindset would probably feel more willing to devote time and energy into to trying to make a positive change in the community, and that person is more likely to get a positive reception because such a person is bound to make more people feel better, comfortable and inspired.
As I keep saying, positive thinking is not a strategy intended to secure people in their own isolated bubbles. Neither is it intended to smooth over or ignore problems and relationship with the community. Rather, it is about improvement, which is progress in a general sense, without invoking the liberal economist’s connotation of individual progress for increased production and wealth. No, it is not about that kind of “free market” liberation. Instead, it is about personal liberation through building awareness and learning how to pilot one’s life and understand the world better.
As this project, “A Year of Living Positively,” winds down, I am reviewing the usefulness and effectiveness of positive thinking in my case. It has equipped me to get more out of life. It has helped to make me wiser and stronger. I have learned to pick my company better, manage working and personal relationships better, even in rough times and with difficult personalities or situations. It has helped me to see myself within the context of the bigger picture more consistently. It has helped me to know myself better, and, moreover, to acknowledge my own successes, however small, when I may have overlooked them, and to see the positive aspects in the people and conditions around me more consistently and more clearly. The awareness of success and positive energies around me have given me satisfaction and joy more often, I think, than I would have felt like that had I not adopted a more thought-out positive approach to life.
There are rewarding outcomes to the project. For instance, the relationship with my students is generally quite beautiful, and I feel stronger, more capable, more satisfied and rewarded by my work all the time. I can better see where I am at in my career and at this stage of life, and I have discovered more options for my future. I have short and long term goals. I have become more creative and productive, as the writing and publishing shows. Whereas I was tending to feel like I was just waiting for the remaining years of my life to erode away prior to the start of this blog, I have come to see that life holds many more wonders and possibilities for me, even at this latish stage. I can see that there are more things I can accomplish and experience. Since taking up this project, I have felt more inspired, creative, capable, open, secure, confident, knowledgeable, rewarded, accomplished, energized, fit, liked and appreciated.
In addition, the writing process has turned out to be invaluable. Not only do reading and thinking about positive thinking help, but writing out thoughts and documenting the evolution of an attitude of positive thinking and its results serve ones’ rounded personal growth and enlightenment. You can track and measure the process. You can push your mind to learn and realize more.
Let me recap, again, my main achievements since I began writing this blog. I have
- written daily for over 340 days
- studied and learned positive thinking
- created an autobiography
- published the autobiography online
- received thousands of more views of my website as a result of this blog (>520 views one day around 10 days ago, as a matter of fact)
- created a concrete legacy by writing and publishing
- been selected to a poetry society to publish a poem online
- written at least five new poems
- been selected and had some of my published works bought by the Simon Fraser University Library
- found more readers for my short stories, “Impressing Heaven” at the conference in Italy
- been invited to write a paper on journal writing for the published conference proceedings
- traveled to Florence, Italy, at long last
- gotten many good reviews of my teaching by students and colleagues
- been asked to represent teachers locally in my professional development organization
- made contributions to organizing and building the local professional development group
- been offered a job interview to work at a university in Japan next year
- been offered jobs as a fall-winter substitute, twice
- represented the South Korea groups at an international committee meeting of the ILPS
- helped plan the ILPS Peace Solidarity Tour
- gone on the ILPS Peace Solidarity Tour in Japan in August
- helped to find and make more allies for the ILPS work
- built more financial savings and invested a large portion in physical assets
- been swimming or hiking throughout the year
- gotten and stayed more fit, especially by going to the gym regularly for six months
- gained some more friends
- enjoyed a little romantic interest
- gotten better at perceiving toxic relationships and gained distance from toxic relationships
- moved into a new apartment and a new office
- made advances in speaking Korean (finished three levels of a course)
As of next week, I’ll have finished teaching classes for another full academic year. The employer is currently talking to me about a two-year contract to start in March, 2015.