Positive Thinking as a Self-Mastery Skill

Self-mastery skills form the core of a fulfilling and satisfying life. Although there are many different self-mastery skills we will focus on five fundamental skills. Each of these skills is learnt through more positive thinking.


How well do you know yourself? Do you believe in positive thinking or do you tend to be a worrier? Do you look for opportunities in situations or are you inclined to see the potential threats more easily?

Self-awareness is the foundation for other self-mastery skills. Successful business men comment that over time they have learnt to handle situations more consciously at work. This is particularly important as you progress up the ladder where challenges become more subtle.

So experiment with one managing director’s advice to “debrief” yourself after meetings: How did you handle the meeting? What did you do well? What did you learn about yourself? What would you do differently next time?


It is our emotions that dictate our responses. Emotions automatically trigger an instantaneous response. Our thinking brain only kicks in a little while later. The emotional brain on the other hand is very quick to react. It is not a thinking mind. So, we react………….and then think! Feelings first, then thoughts!

It is therefore imperative for us to find ways to withstand the “emotional storms” as Daniel Goleman the father of Emotional Intelligence, would say. If we are able to identify the instantaneous emotion we experience, we are in a better position to use positive thinking to influence the outcome.

A business owner always over-reacts to feedback from her clients. She screams and shouts not realising that she is losing the respect of her own staff. Clearly she takes everything personally. She always blames her clients and has not stopped to consider her own behaviour.

It may be difficult to try to control our emotions. So our focus then needs to be to manage how long we allow an emotion to dominate. If we do not take conscious action, the lingering emotions can lead to chronic anxiety, depression or even uncontrollable rage.

Self-Talk and Mental Chatter

When you are alone what goes on in your head? Are you continuously fighting with yourself or with others. It is easy to fall into a pattern of being critical and negative in our thinking.

Instead, can you begin to look at yourself as your best friend? Show some compassion toward yourself or others. Ask yourself: What extenuating reasons or circumstances could there be for your or their behaviour? This approach allows you to develop positive thinking. Learn to change your mind and see a situation from a different point of view. The more we are able to find mitigating reasons for our or others’ behaviour, the gentler we become with ourselves and with other people.

Handling relationships

In his book Mastery, Robert Greene states: “Often the biggest obstacles to our pursuit of mastery, comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of people around us. We misread the intentions of others and react in ways that cause confusion and conflict.”

Some highly successful people will tell you that somewhere in their career they confronted or took on the “wrong” person. For years afterwards they had to live with the consequences. E.g. A consultant lost a big contract because he overstepped a boundary with a senior client. In another case a general manager had used his legal background to intimidate a colleague. To this day the general manager is persona non grata to his colleague.

Our buttons will be pressed in the work situation, without any doubt. It is how we choose to respond that is important.

So we need to find ways to understand others in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Observe what they say and do. And then put yourself in their shoes so that you can think and feel from their point of view. The trick is to use positive thinking to find ways to turn other people into your allies.


Developing self-assertiveness is an important skill in self-mastery. Unless you stand up for yourself you will most likely feel disempowered at some time in your life.

Self-assertiveness is about honouring your needs, wants and values and manifesting them appropriately. It is about speaking and behaving from your inner convictions and feelings. It is about ensuring that you treat yourself with respect and set boundaries about how you want to be treated by others. It is about speaking up when you are unhappy.

How we use how our mind will determine our level of positive thinking. Learning to master ourselves is a life long journey but can be very rewarding for our emotional well-being. It is crucial for our happiness and success to know ourselves, truly know and understand ourselves.


Posted in Self mastery.