In times of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s important to remember what you’re in control of and how to take care of yourself, your business and your mindset. Based on Dan Sullivan’s “The ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual,” The Positive+ Mindset series is designed to offer you 10 tangible ways you can maintain a positive outlook, express gratitude, lead with compassion and empathy, and turn negative thoughts into positive ones that will improve your thinking, actions and outcomes.

Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.

“When times get tough, everyone has to make a fundamental decision: to focus on the negative or to express gratitude. In an environment where negative sentiment is rampant, the consequences of this decision are much greater. Complaining only attracts negative thoughts and people. Gratitude, on the other hand, creates the opportunity for the best thinking, actions, and results to emerge. Focus on everything that you are grateful for, communicate this, and open yourself each day to the best possible consequences.”

‘The Scary Times’ Success Manual’ by Dan Sullivan 

Our brains are hard-wired to focus on negative stimuli. Our operating systems evolved this way for a good reason: to keep us out of harm’s way. After all, a tiger hiding in a bush is more important to take note of than the beautiful landscape around it. But in a world where our brains react to (and retain) the negative, our society has organized itself to capitalize on and magnify the bad. Negative news sells. Social media loves to spread things that went wrong. No one likes to share gossip about things people did right.

How do we overcome this focus on negativity and redirect our brains to focus on gratitude and express positivity?

How Do I Focus on Gratitude When There’s So Much Negativity Around Me?

Every day you wake up and have the choice to either complain about the things that happen or express gratitude for what you have and what you’ve accomplished. It’s not always easy to choose gratitude, especially when times are tough and you’re feeling uncertain. 

Succeeding in the midst of this reality requires intentionally retraining our brains to pay attention to the good in our lives. Typically there is much more of it than we realize, and the simple habit of writing down the good things we are grateful for can retrain our eyes to see the world through a different lens.

When you express gratitude, your thoughts, actions, and therefore outcomes, improve and you’ll see the results of this throughout your day. 

Focus on Your Gratitude: Action Steps

Every day when you wake up, write down three things you are grateful for. Keep a journal or a notepad on your nightstand and make it a priority to do this as soon as you start your day (even before you check your phone!).  

Start right now, even if you’re already halfway through your day. 

What are you grateful for and why?




You can also download our free ‘Focus on Your Gratitude’ worksheet. This exercise will help you start the process of thinking about the things in your life that you are grateful for, including other people, your own unique abilities and your opportunities.

focus on gratitude

Additional Resources to Help You Focus on Gratitude

Looking for more resources on the power of positivity and gratitude? We recommend the following:

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Achor’s book on positive psychology will show you how happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Too often we get caught in the trap of expecting happiness to follow if we just achieve one more goal: a promotion, losing weight, finding a new job, etc. But Achor posits that happiness drives success because our brains become more engaged and creative. His seven principles of positive psychology will give you the action steps you need to start retraining your brain to focus on the positive so you can maximize your potential. 

Click here to learn more

The Happiness Advantage

TEDTalk: ‘The happy secret to better work’ by Shawn Achor

To learn more about his philosophy of positive psychology, watch Achor’s fast-moving TEDTalk.  His use of humor and storytelling will teach you how happiness inspires us to be more productive and therefore more successful at work.

Stay tuned for more weekly blog posts in our C21® Positive+ Mindset series!