A few years ago, Bobby McFerrin’s song, Don’t Worry, Be Happy became a worldwide hit. In fact, it became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Not bad advice, but how can you pull that off … when things at work are challenging … or … your relationships have more tension than you would like … or … Mother Nature wreaks havoc on your life?
We had to deal with those exact questions as Hurricane Irma hit us in Florida last week. In fact, if you were on my Thursday webinar that discussed my Extraordinary Success 2.0 Master Class, you may not know that we had to rush miles and miles north to find a hotel that wasn’t flooded, had running water, had working electricity, and a functional internet connection.
But we pulled it off and had more than 900 webinar registrants. Thanks to all of you for your patience and support.
(If you missed the webinar and would like to see a replay, just click here.)
You see, it’s easy to have an indomitable attitude if everything is going super well in your life. But that’s not when you need it. You need an indomitable attitude for plain old everyday life as well as all of it’s more challenging times.
Here are some things you can to do get that kind of attitude:
1. Honestly Assess Your Attitude.
Ask yourself how you are programmed. Positively or negatively?
Research tells us that 85% of people are programmed negatively.
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 programmed negatively.
What about you? Would you count yourself among the 15% that have a persistently positive attitude? Or would you count yourself among the 85% who see more of the negative side of things?
In a funny kind of way, which of the two following hunters would you be?
The first hunter 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’s why my on-site program, UP Your Attitude: 6 Secrets of Personal Peak Performance, continues to be booked over and over again in hundreds of organizations. Companies are finally realizing that no engagement/teamwork strategy ever works if the people themselves are less than positive.
2. 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 every day. Follow the old Biblical principle of “sowing and reaping.” Put the right stuff in so you get the right stuff out.
It changed my life and will change yours.
3. 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’m 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 lovable. I’m 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.
4. 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 I tell the people in my Master Class, “Act enthusiastic … and then you’ll be enthusiastic.”
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 enthusiastically, 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 two 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.
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 901 – 4 Steps to an Indomitable Attitude