Keep it Positive! Seeing speed-bumps rather than road-blocks.


As a Collegiate Gigster, I read a lot of cynicism online. It usually comes up in conversations about the economy or politics, but also life in general. Life can be difficult, especially for Gigsters and I’m not saying it isn’t. What I am saying is that our life is full of events, and it is the meaning we give to these events that make them negative or positive, or what I call seeing roadblocks vs. speed-bumps.

As we proceed through our day at work, having negative thoughts does not make the work any easier. Sometimes we really have to search for the good in the things around us. According to Johns Hopkins University medical researchers, having a positive mental outlook benefits our body and mind. From a physiological perspective, when you are positive, you are more relaxed and focused on the present moment. This allows optimal blood flow to your entire brain, but primarily the frontal cortex, to better problem-solve and deal with issues as they come up. If you are in a negative mindset, you are usually under stress. This state concentrates the blood flow in the part of the brain where the fight-or-flight response originates from. It limits your visual focus and you react, instead of responding to situations and events more introspectively.

Remaining positive, even hopeful, is one way to keep your mind and your brain healthy and consequently receptive to the positive resources in the environment. The article also talks of re-framing your assessment of the circumstances around you. Take for instance the example of getting into an accident on the way to work. Yes, this isn’t ideal, but it does happen. How we deal with this circumstance determines whether this is a roadblock or a speed-bump. A roadblock could lead you to fall apart at the side of road, crying and feeling helpless and hopeless. A speed-bump mentality focuses your mind on the foresight of paying your car insurance on-time (and adding roadside assistance to the policy).

Also consider the fact that it was just a fender bender and not a horrible wreck that could have landed you and possibly others in the hospital. Focusing on the positives allows you to not only better deal with the immediate issues, but also helps you move on from them. The simple mental exercise of re-framing can keep you from going down a rabbit hole of despair that limits your ability to help yourself.

Reach out, ask for help, ask questions, stay humble, smile, laugh. Also have faith in your abilities and your capacity to thrive. Your smarts got you this far, so I’m confident that you will continue to transform those roadblocks into speed-bumps. I like to think that Collegiate Gigsters are a little better at this than most, but this advice is good for everyone.

This blog post is part of a newsletter I publish weekly called The Gigster 'Zine. It is a production of the Colégas Group, an organization that seeks to offer new opportunities for anyone with a college degree. To learn more about us, to receive valuable strategies for improvement, and to find innovative employment opportunities, sign up for the complete newsletter at