The power of positive thinking
Rasheda Khatun was 26 when she was struck down with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and told she had between six weeks and six months to live. But her doctors were amazed when she staged a full recovery within a year, which she puts down to her positive mental attitude.
“I’d always been healthy up until then so it came as a complete shock. I do believe the reason I’m here today is completely because of my positive mental attitude – it was definitely a huge part of my healing process. At the time, I thought if I do have six weeks to live, I’m going to make sure I enjoy every single day,” says the 32-year-old British Dubai resident.
“If positive thinking can physically heal your body, imagine what else it can do. It’s a power each one of us possesses. It can heal your career, your wealth situation, any part of your life. If you apply a positive mental attitude to the workplace, the sky’s the limit of what you can achieve.”
Six years on, Ms Khatun is currently writing a book based on her experience. The financial planner is also a health and wellness coach and often advises her clients on how they too can harness the powers of positive thinking to become more successful.
“If, for example, one of my clients is having their salary reviewed, most people become very anxious about it and start to doubt themselves – so the control of the meeting is rigged by the employer. But when you go in with a positive mental attitude, you go in knowing what you want, fully prepared, knowing the outcome will be positive,” explains Ms Khatun.
“You can make it about an opportunity for you to get what you want. When you’re negative, you don’t see the learning. It means positive people move up the scale quicker – the most successful people on the planet have all been bankrupt, but they get up, dust themselves off and keep going, whereas those who are miserable will tell their story with self-pity. For me, the more positive I am, the more successful I’ve become in my career.”
Someone else who believes firmly in the powers of a positive mental attitude is Anita Papas, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Beirut. Ms Papas has written three books espousing the virtues of positive thinking; The Positive You, The Positive Us, and Go for It and recently appeared at the Emirates Literature Festival to present a workshop, “Discovering the Positives”.
“You should love what you do to begin with, because it all starts with our passion and way of thinking towards our jobs,” says Ms Papas. “I realise there are some people who are stuck in certain jobs that they have to perform. But if they put meaning into their work, if they start liking their work, they’re bound to feel more positive as a result.
“Try to focus, to master it because the more we feel involved, the more we are able to give, and this means our attitude is better and our results are better. I really believe it’s your attitude towards the task that’s more important than what the task is.”
Ms Khatun agrees.
“When you focus on positive thinking, you work more efficiently because it’s linked to your own personal achievement – whether it’s a stepping stone to get you somewhere else or because this is the job you love,” she says. “As well as it being more efficient, you progress a lot more quickly. And you’ll enjoy the process tenfold more.”
Positive thinking in the workplace is something Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, wants to promote throughout his government departments.
At a forum held in February by the Dubai Land Department (DLD), the value of positive thinking was discussed with methods to ensure a positive workplace environment to bring out the best in DLD employees a key part of the address.
“Happiness and a positive outlook are the core ingredients for sustained achievement,” says Majida Ali Rashid, assistant director general of DLD. “They are the two qualities that help us to embrace the challenges that lie ahead, imbuing us with the enthusiasm to maintain continuous professional development.”
Sophie Le Ray, the chief executive of Naseba, a business networking company, says she only recruits people with a positive mental attitude.
“I ask what they do on their day off because it says a lot about the way they approach their life. You weed out any negativity from the get-go. When there’s someone who is negative – not necessarily towards the workplace but generally just negative – this person will influence many more people than the positive ones. And it’s very difficult to change that.”
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Published: May 19, 2014 04:00 AM