The HOW of a Positive Mental Attitude
Since the days of Norman Vincent Peale and W. Clement Stone, we've known the importance of a positive mental attitude. Stone thought it was so vital for success and achievement that he abbreviated it as PMA and said it was the single most important difference between winners and losers in life. A positive, optimistic attitude will overcome any obstacle, solve any problem, and keep us going no matter what. It is essential to be your best!
And who doesn't want to be positive, optimistic, cheerful and hopeful? Consider the alternatives! We all want to be confident, happy, and eager to move "full speed ahead" at all times. But it can be difficult.
We live in a world of "bad news" and hard times. Negative people and painful circumstances surround us much of the time. The news is filled with trauma and tragedy. We have sayings about this—"into every life a little rain must fall." And there's Murphy's Law that, "if anything can go wrong, it will," and there's always some cheerful by-stander to remind us that "Murphy was an optimist!" What's a positive person to do?
This week, a client asked me that question. He knows he needs to maintain a positive attitude in the midst of business and personal difficulties. He told me he's "tried everything" but the frustration, discouragement and sadness "pile up and I find myself wanting to throw in the towel." His question to me (after all, I'm the coach, right!?) was, "HOW can I stay positive with so much negativity around me?"
I thought about that and sent him an email with the following steps:
- Decide to be positive, no matter what. The first step to maintaining PMA is the fundamental decision to be and stay positive. No matter what! Clarity is power and being clear about who we are and how we choose to live is the first step. Many people "try" to be positive but only a few consciously and consistently commit to being positive. Be one of the positive few.
- Surround yourself with GOOD STUFF. Read inspiring, educational or up-lifting books. Listen to motivating audio programs and positive humor. Fill your world with beauty and love. Put helpful posters in your office. Buy flowers and keep them watered. Spend time with children. My dog helps. Even a cookie (once in a while) helps. A positive Personal Eco-System makes all the difference. Surround yourself with positive stuff. All day. Every day.
- Avoid the negative. In the 24-hour news cycle we can get caught up in the daily dose of bad news but do NOT do it! Limit news and refuse to gossip. Refuse to be with whiners and complainers. If you fill your life with crime shows and murder novels and talk of disaster (economic, political, whatever) it undermines your positive outlook. Refuse to do it! Just don't.
- Use positive affirmations. Remind yourself of what you want, where you're going, who you are and what you love. "We become what we think about all day long" so affirm the best that is in you. Affirmations are often mis-understood. They work best when they are TRUE. Affirming "I'm going to win the lottery this month" is silly and is actually a negative deception. On the other hand, affirming that "I am earning $100,000 this year" or "I am honest, ambitious, and successful" is powerful, positive and effective. Affirm the best and repeat it all day, every day.
- Maintain your health. Eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise and spend time with people you love. These things give you energy, vitality, hope and optimism. It's hard to be positive when you're exhausted or running on candy! Eat fruits, veggies, whole grain foods and get outside and sweat. Go for a run or ride your bike every day. And better yet, do it with friends! Even five minutes of stretching beside your desk can make a world of difference. Take care of yourself and the world becomes a much better place.
- Celebrate every day. Celebrate your wins, every day! The sun came up one more time! You are alive! You are loved! Life has made you strong, creative, courageous and determined! These are GOOD! And they are worth celebrating. Give thanks often. Practice your own personal "happy dance" every chance you get.
- Focus on your goals. Think about what you want, the life you are creating, the possibilities in front of you. Goals and affirmations make life worth living so focus on these things! Think about the life you are building, the legacy you are creating, the value you add to this world and you can't help but be positive. You are a unique and wonderful gift to this small planet. Think about what you can and will do with your life!