“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
You’ve probably heard enough about a positive attitude to fill a lifetime or two. Perhaps that’s why humorist Brian Beatty said, “I prefer to think that the chip on my shoulder gives the monkey on my back something to play with.”
Of course, the more critical question is not how much have you heard about a positive attitude but how well have you mastered it. One baby mosquito mastered it quite well. After coming back from his first flight, his Dad asked, “How was it?” The baby replied, “Dad, it was wonderful. Everyone was clapping for me.”
Personally, I believe that a positive attitude is one of most important and powerful forces in the world … a force that you definitely want working for you. To pump up your attitude, do the following:
1. Expect good things to happen.
William James, the father of American psychology stated that almost everything you expect to happen in life happens. If you expect a dull and dreary life, you’ll probably get it. But if you enthusiastically expect good things to happen, they probably will.
To prove this point, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to gather his parishioners at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City on New Year’s Eve and them write down their personal expectations for the upcoming year. The parishioners would seal their expectations in an envelope, give them to Peale, and re-assemble one year later to check out the results. Almost always, people’s expectations came true … and with amazing accuracy … everything from losing a marriage partner, to being promoted, to dying.
I encourage you to expect good things to happen today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and the next several years. Write them down. Not only will you have a better attitude now and greater success now, you’ll also have more enthusiasm as you anticipate the coming of those good things.
2. Unveil the positive in every situation.
No matter what the situation, there is always a positive. Some see it and some don’t. In fact, this is the distinguishing characteristic of an enthusiastic, optimistic individual. The optimist “sees” the opportunity in every difficulty whereas the pessimist “sees” the difficulty in every opportunity.
Where do you fit in? Do you see a solution for every problem or a problem in every solution? Do you see the green near every sand trap or the sand trap around every green? Do you say “It may be difficult but it’s possible.” or “It may be possible but it’s too difficult.”?
To become more positive, you need to purposely, consciously unveil the positive in every situation. Just like the old-time actress Molly Picon. When Molly heard some performers complaining about their accommodations on tour, she said, “I never complain about such things. My grandmother raised eleven children in four rooms.” Someone asked, “How did she manage?” “Easy,” Picon replied. “She took in boarders.”
Wayne Williams, the President and CEO of Telect, Inc., is one of those people that can see the positive in every situation. He sent me his story … which I found fascinating … and I think you will too. He writes:
“Dear Alan, Before I left on my vacation, my Director of Human Resources asked me to give him my latest top ten books so he could share them at our upcoming leadership conference. I was taken back because I realized how far I had fallen behind in the life application books.”
“As my wife and I were flying out of Monterey to Phoenix, a number of circumstances caused us to miss our flight. But I was determined to get out of there and went to the Delta airline counter, seeing they were checking in to Salt Lake. I knew that if we didn’t get out of the tiny Monterey airport, we would have to stay another night. I paid the $650.00 for our new tickets and we were off. A long layover in Salt Lake would prove the delay and $650,00 would be worth the missed flight. As I perused the book section in the airport in Salt Lake, I was intrigued by this book ‘PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success.” I opened it up, looked at it, and wondered if it would be a good book. After all, Who is this Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman, and why haven’t I heard of him in all of my book reads?”
“I started reading. I was impressed. Zimmerman’s thoughts seemed to mirror mine, yet articulated in a way I couldn’t write. I spent the next couple of hours reading your book as we waited at the airport … my wife looking over my shoulders with a skeptical eye and curious as to why I was so engrained in this book … commenting she hadn’t seen me so caught up in a book like this for some time.”
“Well, I just finished your book about 15 minutes ago. I thought “How can I write what I learned?” Well, what better way than to send a note to the author himself.”
“Your book is awesome … contagious, refreshing, and exhilarating! I will be taking your book and buying many copies to send to family, friends, and work associates … but most importantly will use this as an application and teaching tool in our mentoring and coaching program. Thank you for putting into words what I have tried to practice … but more importantly … thank you for ‘waking me back up’ from listening to the negativity and the monotony of the ‘losers’. You will be added to my list of writers, speakers, and encouragers and I am hopeful that we will get a chance to meet and talk someday.”
“This was the best $670.00 I have spent on a book! Take Care and God Bless you and your family.”
Wayne Williams could have griped about missing his flight. He could have griped about the extra $650 it cost him. All of which would have made his day even worse. Instead he chose to see the positive in his situation. It’s a skill that is mastered by all great positive thinkers.
Click here if you would like to get a copy of my book for yourself or possibly a group of people, if you would like to get “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success”.
3. Talk positively.
It is absolutely critical that you stop using negative terminology, for how you speak has a profound effect upon your life. Your spoken words become rooted in your conscious mind, but with repetition, they are driven deeply into your subconscious mind. It is here that your words become the guiding force, if not the controlling force, in your life. So eliminate negative words and statements from your vocabulary.
Of course it won’t be easy. We seem to be surrounded by negative thinkers and negative talkers. One corporate survey discovered the dismal fact that in the average workplace today, nine negative words are spoken for every positive word. No wonder so many workers are less than enthusiastic.
So start talking more positively. Instead of talking about that “difficult and disagreeable customer,” talk about the “opportunity to practice your interpersonal skills.” If you do, your mind will become more positive, and you will think, feel, and act more positively. You will become more enthusiastic.
A positive attitude may not prevent all your problems or solve all your problems. But this I know … a positive attitude will get you through your problems a great deal faster with a lot less hassle. Use these three tips to up your attitude.
ACTION: Take the 24-hour challenge. Go one entire day without uttering one negative comment.