The Positive Effect
“Don’t let the negativity given to you by the world disempower you. Insteadgive to yourselfthat which empowersyou… Everything you do and every decision you make should be from a place of good. You should always be striving to make the world a better place.”
~ Les Brown, motivational speaker and best-selling author
The transition you are making will require your deepest stores of positivity. You might think that you are already a reasonably positive person. You’re cheerful, pleasant, polite, and easy to get along with, right? But if you carefully survey what you say and, more importantly, what you think, you might conclude that you are not as positive as you might hope to be. We all live in a kind of default mode where we think, act, and respond on autopilot, not giving much thought to those attitudes and mindsets that are at the core of our personality and personal philosophy. For the next 24 hours, try being hyper-aware and hypervigilant about surveying the thoughts that occupy space in your mind. Are they as positive as you would like them to be? Or are you still harboring a few relics from your more negative self?
Controlling your thoughts is a gargantuan task. The mind enjoys wandering like a wayward child. It hops from thought to thought with reckless abandon. Your job is to harness your thoughts and bring them into alignment with your goals. You have set some big goals. So, you will need all of your faculties to work in tandem with your ambitions.
If you are in the military or ever have been, or if you have seen military exercises or movies about them, you have seen them chanting as they march, they chant their cadences. These chants, jodies, or songs help remove their focus from their bodies and put them in the right headspace. But they also help to retrain their minds to think like the elite fighting force they are.
We all have a chant playing on loop in our minds. What does yours say as you are preparing for this transition?
This is going to be a nightmare. It’s going to take forever.
I’m never going to get that job.
There are too many applicants; why should they pick me?
You have the right—and the power—to deliberately choose what you are going to think about. The mind will never be completely free of its random nature. But you can evolve and grow into someone who responds immediately when the mind drifts into that dangerous negative territory. Your response must be to immediately neutralize that negative thought with as many positive statements as you can.
This is called being a deliberate thinker. It is a skill you can and must master if you are going to rise to the top of the ranks at Amazon or any other company you choose. A deliberate thinker defaults to a positive outlook and perspective on any problem. They exude positivity and confidence to those around them. They are fun and easy to work for and with because they inject hope into every situation and treat problems like the opportunities they are.
Negativity is like an odor. Even though you can’t see it, you can tell it is in the atmosphere and affects everyone it touches. Negativity breaks morale, stifles creativity, and hinders growth. Negativity is limiting, and it seeks to list all the reasons why your plan might fail.
I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I always received positive messages. I was always being encouraged, pushed, and supported. But that is not the case in every family. And for those struggling with negativity, you may not have heard these life-giving messages, or worse, you may have been fed a steady diet of doubt, blame, and criticism. Then there are the pressures of life itself, which can sometimes cause a positive mind to get bullied into silence and replaced by a more pessimistic outlook.
You will find, if you are hired, that Amazon has a positive culture. There are always messages of inspiration, motivation, and belief that, no matter how well we did in the past, we can surpass that benchmark. In order to keep stride with that kind of forward momentum, you must bring a strong and positive mindset to your work at Amazon.
If, after your 24-hour test, you recognize that you have accidentally slipped into more negative than positive thoughts, you must reset your defaults immediately. First, accept that this will be a change process that will take place over time. Be patient, but be vigilant. You want to make a change and accomplish a lot with your second career. You will need your most positive mind to do that.
Start by deciding what you want to believe about this transition. Regardless of what you actually think and believe, what do you want to believe?
I am an asset to any company that hires me. I add value to everything I touch.
I am an innovator. Inspiration flows through me.
I assume the best will happen and, therefore, draw that positive outcome to myself.
Be cautious about your diet. No, I am not talking about the cheeseburger, French fries, and large milkshake you should not have eaten for lunch. I am referring to your mental diet. Consuming large amounts of negativity will weigh you down.
Some people, when embarking on this massive test to mentally reset their minds, will avoid the news for a time. The thought of not being up on every event that is happening in the world might sound horrifying to you. You may even lie to yourself and say that you have to be informed and must, therefore, watch the news every day to hear about the political strife, racial unrest, cultural war, and actual conflicts taking place around the world. I am a fan of being informed, but you do not need to be inundated. If you allow yourself 30 days to focus on a diet of positivity, inspiration, and motivation, I promise you that the world will still be there when you return. Not much will have changed in that time. And the president will not likely call you into the White House to advise him on some pressing global concern. Give yourself a break. Allow your mind to reawaken its creative, imaginative, and carefree abilities. Reactivate those centers of joy and rest that once fueled you up. Pick up that paintbrush you stored away five years ago and haven’t touched since. Dust off the guitar that’s been sitting in the closet and was moved only to make room for something else that is getting hidden in the darkness. Take a course. Read a book. Spend a half hour per week with a mentor who inspires you. These kinds of activities resurrect that hopeful, optimistic, and positive core.
I mention 30 days because it takes time to weaken the negative thoughts while strengthening the positive ones. Don’t expect the change to be immediate, though you will experience some instant gains. The moment you replace a negative thought with a positive one, you feel an instant rush of dopamine that connects that new thought with a pleasant feeling. Your body is helping your mind become addicted to positivity. But the negative thoughts are still there and will resurface. Imagine what would happen if you suddenly had to learn to write with your non-dominant hand. At first, your writing would be shaky and unintelligible. But, over time, you would overcome your body’s resistance to writing with the other hand. You would develop a useful writing style. The same applies to shifting your mind from predominantly negative to positive. It will be strange at first. But, in time, it will become second nature to you.
Your default mode is not just a metaphysical concept. Your brain develops pathways that govern how you process the data you receive from your environment. Two people can be in the same room experiencing the same phenomenon; one might find it exciting and interesting, while the other finds it scary and threatening. Your mind can learn to always view your situation in the best light possible.
This kind of mindset shift is not just about getting a job. It is about having a better life. Of course, thinking positively will make you a better leader. When a problem arises, a negative mindset defaults to anger, frustration, and hopelessness. A positive mindset insists that there is a solution that simply plays hide-and-seek. Once the solution is discovered, the problem can be managed.
Amazon is the perfect mix of challenging and exhilarating environments. It is fast-moving—perhaps faster than you can imagine from the outside looking in. Its associates are well paid because the company demands excellence on every level. You will have to decide if you are mentally fit for the task. If you have some work to do, I applaud you for taking the first step to making yourself Amazon-strong. Like any Army recruit on the first day, there are some areas that need tightening, revising, restructuring, and outright demolition. The function of basic training is, in part, to start that process of sculpting the recruit into a soldier. This is not a process that takes days and weeks. It takes years and, perhaps the length of the soldier’s career in the military. We are never really done with the task of evolving. There is always more to learn and ways to refine.