Talkin' with Trav: The power of being positive

By Travis Hansen

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, June 7 2012 4:30 p.m. MDT

BYU head coach Dave Rose

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

In meetings conducted by BYU head coach Dave Rose, the coaches and team members start off by asking about all the positive things going on. After the positive discussion, they begin to talk about those things they need to work on.

I asked Rose if they did that in every meeting. He replied with an absolute, “Yes, of course. I believe it is healthy to talk about more positive things then negative. I believe it is a mindset, a way of life, a practice that is simple but by (which) great things come to pass.”

I thought a lot about that concept this past week. I was touched by the simplicity of being positive.

It led me to think about my own workplace, family and relationships. I thought, do I smile at people? Am I nice to others? Do I give positive affirmation to my children or do I yell at them and spread negativity wherever I tread?

According to Remez Sasson, founder and owner of SuccessConsciousness.com, “Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results.”

He continues, “Not everyone accepts or believes in positive thinking. Some consider the subject as just nonsense, and others scoff at people who believe and accept it. Among the people who accept it, not many know how to use it effectively to get results. Yet, it seems that many are becoming attracted to this subject, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it. This is a subject that is gaining popularity.”

Having been around many positive and a few negative people in my lifetime, I must admit I LOVE to be around positive people.

Positive people give light; negative people suck light.

Positive people transmit energy, motivation, hope, love, happiness and many other inspiring values. Negative people transmit stress, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and any other feeling that relates to being lonely or sad.

Anyone can be positive. How do you do it? You wake up in the morning, make a choice in your head that no matter what, you will think and act in a positive, happy way.

You will have a few setbacks, and that is OK. Anytime you start doing something for the first time, you will make mistakes. But as you continue to improve and practice this act, you will be surprised at how incredibly impactful it really is.

My mother in law, Ruth Merrell, is one of the most positive people I have ever met. She rides the school bus with disabled children for Provo School District and has been named employee of the year two years in a row, 2010 and 2011. She probably would have won it this year, too, but she recently told me they stopped giving out the award.

Ruth emanates positivity, kindness and love. She does this because she has practiced it over many years.

How do you become great at something if you do not practice? Can you wake up one morning and say, "I am going to be a great guitar player today?"

No.

It takes months and even years of practice. And thus it is with any value you seek like kindness, love or being positive. You must practice, and practice makes perfect.

The next time you feel your blood boiling or the urge to yell at your children, friend, sibling or family member, pick one of the following alternatives:

• Walk outside or into another room and scream

• Take a deep breath and think about the consequences of your actions

• Think about the counsel my mother gave me: "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all."

• Think about your children screaming negative remarks at their own children. There is a high-percentage chance your children will emulate everything you are and do.

You have no idea how your actions affect those around you — for good or bad. So be good, be positive, be happy, and your example will spread to others subconsciously.

According to Jon Gordon, the author of "The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity," there are at least 11 benefits to being positive.

1. Positive people live longer. In a study of nuns, those who regularly expressed positive emotions lived on average 10 years longer.

2. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments.

3. Positive, optimistic sales people sell more than pessimistic sales people.

4. Positive leaders are able to make better decisions under pressure.

5. Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions; when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce.

6. Positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity.

7. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture which helps them identify solutions, whereas negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems.

8. Positive thoughts and emotions counter the negative effects of stress. For example, you can't be thankful and stressed at the same time.

9. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level.

10. Positive people have more friends, which is a key factor of happiness and longevity.

11. Positive and popular leaders are more likely to garner the support of others and receive pay raises and promotions and achieve greater success in the workplace.

In conclusion, I agree with this quote from David Viscott: “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”

Or the parent, teacher, coach or boss you wish you had had.

Travis Hansen is a former BYU, NBA (Atlanta Hawks) and Euroleague basketball player. He co-founded the Little Heroes Foundation and is married with three children.

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