An optimist is a father who will let his son take the new car on a date. A pessimist is one who won’t. A cynic is one who did.
You’ve all heard the phrase and remember the song, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Good advice. Easy to say but hard to do. In fact, 85% of people tend to be on the negative, pessimistic side of things.
And the way you check that out is to look at your first reaction to any bit of news you get. If, for example, you get an e-mail from your boss that says, “See me immediately,” what is your first reaction? Is your first reaction, “Great, the raise is coming early this year?” Or is your first reaction, “What did I do wrong this time?” 85% expect the negative … and therefore … are negative.
What about you? Would you count yourself among the 15% that have a persistently positive attitude? Or would you find yourself among the 85% who see more of the negative side of things? Which of the two following hunters would you be?
The first hunter not only loves to hunt, but he’s also a great hunter. So, he goes out to buy the best hunting dog he can find. He just didn’t realize how good of a dog he found until he took the dog out to the lake. Within minutes, the hunter shot a duck and sent the dog after it. The dog headed out, walked on the water across the lake, got the duck and brought it back.
Naturally, the hunter couldn’t believe his eyes. A little later he shot another duck. And again the dog walked on the water, across the lake, and got that duck. He was absolutely astonished.
About that time a second hunter came by to watch what was going on. He watched as the first hunter shot another duck, and he watched the dog walk across the water to get it.
Finally after a few moments of silence, the first hunter asked the second one, “Did you notice anything funny about that dog?”
The second hunter replied, “Yeah, I noticed something funny. That dog can’t swim!”
Despite the miracle right in front of his face, that hunter, like so many people, see the negative in everything. And that’s dangerous. As James Allen warned us years ago, “Bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.”
That being the case, how can you get and keep a positive attitude? Get my book entitled “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success.”
In the meantime…
=> 1. Feed your mind positive inputs.
Yes, FEED. After all, you would never think of putting yourself on an all-candy diet if you were training for a marathon. You know that the fuel you put in your body … to a great extent … will determine your performance. So you would feed your body the best foods you could find.
And yet, when it comes to feeding the mind, most people disregard this basic piece of wisdom. They unconsciously let negative garbage into their minds, and they consciously do little or nothing to FEED their mind the proper thoughts it needs.
How sad! Because, what enters your mind will eventually occupy, shape, and control it. And in the end, whatever enters your mind … over and over again … will express itself in what you do and who you become. That’s the law of exposure. And it’s as sure as the law of gravity.
Your mind will absorb and reflect whatever it’s exposed to. The events you attend, the materials you read or don’t read, the classes you take or don’t take, the music you listen to, the images you expose yourself to, the conversations you hold, the thoughts you entertain, are all shaping your mind and attitude … and eventually your character and destiny.
I challenge you to FEED your mind good, positive, uplifting, encouraging, motivational material everyday. Follow the old Biblical principle of “sowing and reaping.” Put the right stuff in so you get the right stuff out.
The problem is … most people understand the principle of “sowing” and “reaping,” but very few actually apply it. Most people know they can’t plant corn and expect to get spinach in return. Most people grasp the logic but fail to implement it.
I know. I was one of the guilty ones. For many years, my morning ritual began with a thorough reading of the newspaper and then more listening to the radio news as I drove to the office. After filling my mind with the day’s murders, rapes, indictments, invasions, and all the other bad news, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that my “sowing” of these thoughts would reap an “attitude” that was far less than positive.
I gave up this crazy morning ritual many years ago and replaced it with a ritual of reading and meditating on some works that would sow “good thoughts” and thus reap “good results.” As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”
I learned to feed my mind positive inputs. And when I learned to make that investment in myself, it paid off in every part of my life. So I highly recommend the procedure.
=> 2. Block out negative self-talk.
After all, you do not CATCH a depressed spirit or a demoralized outlook. It’s the result of the thoughts you let into your mind.
So you must consciously, aggressively stop the negatives from getting into your mind.
In particular, you’ve got to block out “The 4 Most Common, Self-Defeating Beliefs.” Perhaps you’re guilty of thinking some of these things.
* I am not enough (good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, etc.)
* I am a victim of (my past, my upbringing, my genes, my boss’ whims, etc.)
* I cannot trust myself (my decisions, opinions, or preferences.)
* I am not loveable. I am not worthy of other people’s … (love, respect, time, recognition, help, etc.)
The more you think these thoughts, the more deeply entrenched your negative attitude becomes. They’re destructive, dangerous thoughts that must be blocked.
=> 3. Act out your positive attitude.
The process is quite simple. First you act-as-if you have a positive attitude and THEN you will get one. As motivational speaker Gene Chamberlain used to say, “Act enthusiastic … and then you’ll be enthusiastic.”
In fact, Gene would lead groups in cheers. He would pump one fist in the air while saying, “Act enthusiastic,” then pumping the other fist he’d say, “and you’ll be enthusiastic.” Yes, I know it sounds a little silly, but it works. Try it if you don’t believe it.
William James, the father of American psychology once observed that “You do not sing because you are happy. You are happy because you sing.” In other words, action precedes feeling. First, you sing, then you’re happy. First you act enthusiastic, then you feel enthusiastic.
The Bible said essentially the same thing. In Psalm 118:24, the author says, “This is the day which the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” It says FIRST you rejoice, and THEN you are glad.
Unfortunately, so many people get this backwards, and as a result, they are deficient in energy and enthusiasm. They say, “When I’m glad … happy …or feel like it, then I’ll rejoice.”
Of course, these people end up wasting their lives away. They wait until all their problems are gone … which is never going to happen. Or they wait until they FEEL a certain way before they do anything … which could be a long, long time.
So act enthusiastic, even if you don’t feel enthusiastic. And when you think about it, you know how this works. Remember when you were a kid and played “pretend.” You were pretending to be a pirate or a space warrior, a cowboy or a bandit, or a mommy or daddy. You “acted as if” you had the characteristics of your make-believe person and you felt as though you were that person.
The same is true when learning to become more enthusiastic. Act as if you’re enthusiastic. Jump. Smile. Put an extra skip into your step. Add a lilt to your laugh. Just fake it until you make it.
The important point to remember is that action precedes feeling. So act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.
Action: List 2 ways you will FEED your mind positive inputs at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time. And then do those things every day for 21 days until they become habits.