CONFIRMED: 3 Ways To Make Your Attitude Come Alive

You’re supposed to have a positive attitude. Right? You’ve been told that a thousand times.

But what does it mean to have a positive attitude?

Does it mean that you never feel down? That’s impossible. Human beings are always going to experience a wide range of emotions.

A positive attitude is not a feeling. It is a fuel. It gives you the energy to keep on keeping on. Very much like a car that won’t go very far without some form of fuel, you can’t go very far without a positive attitude.

So what can you do to make your positive attitude come alive? Here are three tips for starters.

► 1. Refuse to blame anyone or anything for your problems.

It’s not easy to put aside blame. After all, some of the people and situations in your life may be partly responsible for your problems and deserve some blame.

The problem is … blaming doesn’t work. It doesn’t change anything and it doesn’t make anything better. All blame can do is keep you stuck.

Let me give you two contrasting examples from my coaching clients. These two people are very much alike. They own two very similar businesses in two neighboring, very similar towns. And they are equally skilled in the technical and administrative aspects of their business.

One of them, I’ll call him Hank, has struggled for seven years just to stay in business. He has gained very little, if any, financial ground during those years. His life is a day-to-day struggle for survival.

The other person, I’ll call Julian, started six years ago. His business has grown 10% to 30% each year, every year.

When I talk with Hank, I hear a lengthy discourse on all the outside influences that negatively affect his business. The economy, taxes, banks that won’t give a small business a fair shake, competition from huge corporations, and his list goes on and on and on.

I acknowledge, by the way, that these factors do exist. I am frustrated by some of them myself. But the issue is not the existence of these factors. The issue is how much control Hank lets them have over his business. Every time Hank plays the blame game, he shrugs off responsibility for his situation and stays stuck in neutral.

When I talk with Julian, these matters only occasionally come up. Instead, he talks excitedly about the innovative strategies he has developed to keep his business growing regardless of external influences. Often, he’ll say something like, “I really screwed up on this situation. Let me tell you what I’m doing about it.” Julian accepts all the responsibility for his success or failure and because he does, he retains control of his attitude and actions. The result is he moves ahead.

So let me ask you a question. Are you more like Hank, stuck in a rut, going nowhere, trying to survive, but ready to give a dozen excuses for your problems at work or at home? Or are you more like Julian, acknowledging your challenges but taking responsibility to find a way through them?

If you’re more like Hank, I urge you to get off your pity party and stop talking about WHY things aren’t working out for you. Start talking about WHAT you’re going to do about it. It’s a great step in making your positive attitude come alive.

Jeanne Swanson, a national market actuarial for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, learned this strategy at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary experience. She says, “I want you to know that your Journey changed my life. Despite the challenges in my life, I discovered my self-esteem, learned to embrace a positive attitude, and have used your goal-setting advice and positive affirmations to begin a journey of weight loss (60 pounds so far). THANK YOU!!”

► 2. Refuse to use a loser’s language.

The most successful … and I might add, the happiest people … refuse to use a loser’s language. They know that words precede results. They know if they talk like a loser, they’ll end up losing. George Schultz, the former U.S. Secretary of State said, “The minute you start talking about what you’re going to do if you lose, you have lost.”

It’s like the little boy who walked onto the baseball field saying, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.” He threw up the ball, swung, missed, and said, “Strike one.” He threw up the ball again, and once more he swung and missed, and said, “Strike two.” He did that for three strikes in a row.

At that point he picked up his bat and ball. With a smile on his face, he walked off the field and said, “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world.” He refused to use the language of a loser. He only talked about winning and so should you.

The research is quite clear. The more you talk about failing to meet your goals, the more negative your attitude will become. And the more negative your attitude becomes, the poorer your results will be. It’s a vicious downward cycle that you must refuse to enter.

► 3. Live a positive attitude.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel positive. You can still live a positive day and with enough practice, your positive days turn into an enduring positive attitude and an eventual positive life.

It’s something that losers haven’t learned to do. They waste their emotional energy muttering such pitiful comments as “Another day, another dollar” or “I’ve got just five more years, three months, and two days and I’m out of here.”

As the Scottish warrior Braveheart said, “Everyone dies, but not all people actually live.”

What about you? Are you truly living your life now? Or are you waiting to live — until the kids leave home, until you get remarried, find a new job, buy a different house, have less stress, finally retire, or just plain feel like it?

I urge you to live a positive attitude, like this 83-year-old woman who wrote to her friend about what that’s like. She wrote:

“Dear Bertha, “I’m not waiting for anything anymore. We use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.”

That’s what living a positive attitude is all about. Go for it.