It may not have been your choice to get knocked down, but it is your choice whether or not you try to get back up.
Life isn’t fair. You know that. Some people have more than their share of difficulties, and some people get more breaks than they deserve.
What fascinates me is how people respond to their difficulties. Some people use their difficulties as an excuse for their lack of achievement, while others use their difficulties as the motivation for their success.
I remember one set of identical twins that were raised by an almost constantly drunk alcoholic father. At age fourteen the twins were sent to separate foster homes, not to be reunited for some thirty years.
When they were brought together at age 44, they were interviewed on a TV talk show. One of the twins had become an alcoholic like his father, while the other one had become a teetotaler. When the TV host asked them why they turned out the way they did, they both gave the same answer. Each of them said, “What do you expect? How could I turn out any differently considering the father I had?”
Simply put, it wasn’t so much their difficulty that made the difference in life. It was their response to the difficulty that made them a winner or a loser.
The same is true in your life. Your attitude determines your altitude. Good attitudes tend to bring good results, and bad attitudes tend to bring bad results. In fact, your attitude will defeat you faster than any problem you’ll ever have or any competition you’ll ever encounter.
So how do you develop a good attitude, an attitude that will help you get back up when you get knocked down? You need to do three things.
First, REFUSE TO BLAME ANYONE OR ANYTHING FOR YOUR PROBLEMS OR SITUATION. That’s not easy. And it’s not natural. Afterall, your company, your boss, your parents, your friends, and your spouse might even deserve some blame.
The problem is it doesn’t work. It doesn’t change anything, and it doesn’t make anything better. All blame can do is keep you stuck or make you spiteful, neither of which will turn you into a winner.
Take your job, for example. Maybe you feel stuck in a job that is going nowhere, or maybe you think your company is doing nothing to invest in your career development. A loser could spend hours in the employee lounge talking about those issues, blaming the boss or the company.
Or maybe you feel slighted when it comes to education. You never had the chance to get the schooling you wanted. As one person said, “When I went to school, all I had was a pencil and the kid next to me. And I think if he’d really applied himself, I could have been somebody.”
So the first step in positive attitude development is refusing to blame. Even though it may be justified, don’t do it. Just accept the fact that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
Second, CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. That’s right, choose! Even though you may have some doubts, even though the balance sheet of your life may show more liabilities than assets, you got to believe in yourself. Sugar Ray Robinson, the boxing champ, said, “To be a champ, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will.” Or Dolly Parton said, “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know that I’m not dumb … and I also know that I’m not blonde.”
And it doesn’t matter how you come to that conclusion. You may take a spiritual approach and decide that God doesn’t make junk. Just the fact that He made you is enough to decide you’re worthwhile. Or maybe you take a cold, analytical approach and decide you can believe in yourself simply because you’re a survivor. You’ve survived tough times in the past, and that alone is enough to decide to believe in yourself.
If that sounds easier said than done, all you have to do is start affirming it. Tell yourself twenty times a day, a hundred times a day, “I like myself. I like myself. I like myself.” Eventually your subconscious mind will start to accept your affirmation, and you will be able to believe in yourself.
Finally, to develop your positive attitude, DO SOMETHING TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. That might sound strange, but that’s the way it works. If you do some things to help others, things you can feel good about, you can’t help but strengthen your own positive attitude. You’re starting a blessed circle. Your good actions reinforce your good attitudes — which in turn generate more good actions, and the circle continues.
That was the case with one young man who appeared in the early television, Fruit-Of-The-Loom commercials. Even though he was a successful actor, he didn’t feel good about himself. He had a weight problem.
One day he found a note on his car that inspired him to do something about his problem. The note said, “Fat people die young. Please don’t die.”
The young man went on a crash diet and lost 110 pounds in three months. Unfortunately, his dramatic weight loss so damaged his body he had to be hospitalized.
After this devastating experience, he decided to start all over and learn how to lose weight safely through sound nutrition and proper exercise. Once he learned that, he was determined to find some way to share his knowledge with others who were troubled with obesity.
He was so enthusiastic about his new-found knowledge, and he was so excited about helping others that people were immediately attracted to him. He made weight-loss education his business and enthusiasm his partner.
Today Richard Simmons is recognized across the world for his weight-loss crusade. But he couldn’t have done it without first deciding to do something that would make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Action: You may invest in the stock market, or you may believe real estate is the way to a better financial future. But this week, decide to invest in yourself. Choose to believe in yourself a little bit more than you did last week. Tell yourself over and over, “I like myself. I believe in myself.” Say it until you believe it. It will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.