Written by Courtney Lynch

We can all relate to being nervous. After all, fear, worry, and insecurity are common human emotions. What if instead of being leery of something new or different, we assumed it was going to be good?

Take relationships, for example. What if, upon meeting a new person, you assumed you would be good friends? How would that change your approach? You’d likely ask more questions, showing genuine curiosity to discover who they are. You’d suspend judgment and instead focus on what was interesting or positive. You’d stay open to their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. After all, good friends don’t always agree, but they do hear each other out.

The concept of “toxic positivity” has been getting traction lately. I get it; it’s not always helpful to be happy. People have a full range of emotions to experience, all of which are valuable. Yet it is fair to say that assuming things won’t be good puts you on a path to seeing the worst rather than the best in the people and situations you encounter. When we assume goodness, we put ourselves in a position to influence a positive direction, especially with others. Belonging is something we inspire in each other, and acceptance is the foundation.

Here are three ways we can shift from expecting difficulty to assuming good is possible:

Recognize our experience and capability. How often do you appreciate your ability to navigate through the tough stuff of life? Take a moment to reflect on all you’ve overcome to get to where you are today. Sure, challenging times will come. But when you embrace where you’ve been, it’s easier to realize how capable you are of overcoming what’s ahead.

Take time to understand. Most conflict has roots in misunderstanding. When things feel negative, scary, or off-putting, seek to understand what’s behind your feelings. Could you be over-emphasizing potential negative outcomes at the expense of seeing what’s possible?

Recognize what you like, admire, or respect. We all have challenging people in our lives. The next time your mind wanders to negative thoughts about someone you encounter often, attempt to recognize one thing you like, admire, or respect about that person. It’s a small step to bringing more goodness to your dynamic.

Thriving is a choice. When we focus on what isn’t, we create a mindset where stagnation and depletion can take hold. When we focus on what can be, especially with our lives and the people in them, we are more likely to learn, grow, and feel energized. Assuming it’s going to be good illuminates a path worth following.

Founded in 2004, Lead Star is the company behind New York Times best-sellers SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. Lead Star supports professionals to reach new levels of success through an innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.