Everyone needs to start somewhere, right? Your first day of school, a new job, or a new friendship, are all experiences that you will probably not easily forget. Like many things, you build your experience upon the basics.

I remember my first day of kindergarten. Mrs. Allison wore her typical hair bun and her friendly, gracious smile. I loved the coloring and number sheets she handed out, and how we all colored and added and subtracted. I loved everything about learning, and about my teacher. That is probably why I still recall her so vividly today.

Starting my first job as a waitress in a retirement home was a new beginning, too. Some of the residents were grumpy, and others were friendly. I met new co-workers there who became friends, many of whom I still keep in touch today. Along with my first day of school, and my first job, my first pet, my first boyfriend, and my first day of college are all firsts that helped to define who I am. My first martial art class when I was 26 years old was a first that helped to become more confident and hopeful. Firsts are important.

Being a positive person requires a lot of firsts, too. It begins with an agreement with yourself to start turning things around. In martial arts, we often have to turn things around. Some of the most powerful martial art spin kicks generate power when you turn yourself around, like the whirl of a hurricane. You have the power and energy to turn negativity to positivity, just as that spin kick creates energy like a whip when it is executed.

First, however, you have to want to be a positive person. It will take your effort and your desire. You may wake up one day and think, “I am tired of never feeling happy.” You may realize that you have relied on others opinions and criticisms for so long, that you allowed them to impinge on your happiness.

There were many times in my past when I did not allow myself to be happy. I tried so desperately to be like everyone else. They had material things, fancy houses, and everything they wanted. I had to work hard for the few things I had, most of which could not live up to their standards.

When I started my first professional job, the first thing I did was buy a Gucci watch. Finally, I thought, I had made it. Still, even wearing it, I didn’t feel any different on the inside. That is because happiness is within. The first step to positivity or happiness, then, is to recognize that outside influences do not control them.

Once you come to the realization that you have control over you own actions, emotions, and reactions, you can start to implement the important and exciting task of turning that which is negative into something positive.

Thinking that I had absolutely no athletic abilities whatsoever, I almost gave up after my first martial art class. Instead, I applied a new and positive approach. I decided for the first time in my life, I would not back away from something because I did not know what to do. This time, I would give 100% and see what happened. Surprisingly, in my first test, I received a trophy for “best exam performance.” I discovered a “me” that I did not know existed, focused and ambitious.

Take one of the negatives in your life, and decide how you can turn it around. If you give it effort and time, instead of quickly dismissing it, an opportunity may present itself. Don’t give up so easily. Challenge yourself to push through that which you want to give up. You will start to see the benefits of positivity emerge, maybe for the very first time in your life.

Your life is full of firsts. Every day is a new beginning. Every hour has a new promise. When you decide that you want to be more positive, and you implement a new approach, you will change the path of your life forever. Everyone needs to start somewhere. Today is as good a day as any to become a brand new, positive you.





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Andrea Harkins, a/k/a “The Martial Arts Woman,” is an internationally recognized writer, published book author, blogger, motivator, and public speaker. She has been a martial artist for 28 years, and is also a martial art instructor. Today, along with teaching and training, Andrea's passion and goal is to make the world a better place through her mission of positivity through martial arts.