When you look in the mirror, do you see the irregularities of your nose… or the sparkle in your eyes? When you give a public presentation, do you focus on the awkward stutter you briefly went through at the beginning… or the positive message you relayed to everyone?” When you complete a task, do you dwell on what went wrong… or praise what went right? “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Everyone has heard this metaphor before. In fact, it has been ingrained in most of our heads that our weaknesses cause us to fail. Studies are showing that people tend to spend more time focusing on what is wrong with themselves as opposed to what is right. Negative thoughts tend to lead towards negative actions, whereas positive thoughts tend to lead toward positive action. A great philosopher once said, “the mind does well what the mind does often”. If the below example was your report card in school, which subject would you spend most of your time talking about to yourself and your friends?
English – A
Geometry – A+
History – A-
Even though you are nearly a straight A student, I would be willing to bet that many of you in this scenario would spend more of your time focusing on the negativity of your Chemistry class than getting excited about the positivity of your 4 successful classes. You would probably say things like, “Gosh why do I suck at Chemistry?!”, “man Chemistry is really hurting my GPA”, “My Chemistry professor is so unfair”… and perhaps you would say other passionate/vulgar things about the subject.
Perhaps a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That said, focusing on what makes the weak link a terrible link does not make the chain any better, rather, focusing on what makes the strong links great will help you improve your weaker ones. So, let’s apply this to the report card scenario. Instead of asking yourself, “Gosh, why do I suck at Chemistry?!”, perhaps try asking yourself, “Gosh, what makes me so good at Geometry?” Maybe then you will start to paint together a picture of what success looks like. Maybe your geometry class consists of:
- Friends to study with
- More note taking
- A professor you connect with
- Enjoyment of subject
- Sitting in the front of the classroom
- Attending class
After writing down everything that makes your Geometry grades successful, what strengths can you draw upon to apply to your chemistry class? This same concept can be applied to your health as well. Take some time to look at the things you are most successful at in life. Maybe it’s your career, relationships, activities of daily living, etc… Write down everything you do that makes it successful. How can you apply those strengths/strategies in the realm of health?