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Keep a Positive Attitude Even if You're on Your Last String

By Dr. Alan Zimmerman

The great violinist Paganini was performing before a most distinguished audience. Suddenly, one of his violin strings snapped. The audience gasped. But the master musician continued unruffled to play on the three remaining strings.

Snap! A second string broke. Then, with a sharp crack, a third string broke! For a brief moment, the artist stopped, raised his famous Stradivarius violin high, and with one hand announced, "One string -- and Paganini."

With outstanding skill, he finished the selection on a single string. His performance was flawless, and the audience gave him a tumultuous standing ovation.

There will be times in your life when one string after another will snap. And you will go through circumstances that might tempt you to give up. But if you maintain a positive attitude, you won't allow yourself to give up. Here are my top four ways to creating an unbeatable positive attitude that's invincible to failure - no matter what:

1. Stay calm.
When the tough times come into your business or into your life, it's easy to get angry, agitated, or scared. This won't help you. In fact the more emotional you get, the less capable you become. Instead, you must force yourself to remain calm. Not only will your calmness allow your mind to work, but it will also reinforce your own positive attitude. It's a way of re-affirming that you can handle it.

2. Refuse to blame anyone or anything for your problems.
It's easy and natural to blame someone else. After all, your company, your boss, your parents, your friends, and your spouse might even deserve some blame. Nonetheless, a critical step in attitude development is refusing to blame. Even though it may be justified, don't do it.

The problem with blaming anyone or anything for your problems is that it doesn't work. It doesn't change anything. It doesn't make anything better. All blame can do is keep you stuck in a rut or make you spiteful. I guarantee this won't turn you into a winner. It's not going to help you achieve peak performance.

3. Focus on the positive.
There's always some good in a bad situation. And there's always some bad in a good situation. It's the Yin Yang effect. So, what do you choose to focus on? An old ditty says it this way:

"As you go through life, brother,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
And not upon the hole!"

Some people focus on the hole. But the strategy seldom if ever works. You've got to stop keeping track of the negatives.

Perhaps you've noticed. On a bad day, some people tend to count every irritation or inconvenience that occurs. They'll burst out with, "This is the third time today something like this has happened." Yet seldom on a good day do these people say, "This is the third time today something great has happened." Keeping track of the negative simply gives you a weak and defeated negative attitude.

If you want to achieve peak performance, you must focus on the positive like Frank did, even though his constant optimism irritated his friends. No matter how horrible the circumstances, he'd remark, "It could have been worse."

To cure him of his annoying habit, his friends decided to invent a situation that was so bad, so terrible that even Frank could find no hope in it. On the golf course one day, his friends said, "Frank did you hear about Tom? He came home last night, found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both, and then turned the gun on himself."

"That's horrible," Frank said. "But it could have been worse."

"How could it possibly be any worse?" his friends asked.

"Well," Frank answered, "If it had happened the night before, I'd be dead."

4. Refuse to use a loser's language.
The happiest, most successful peak performers, whether in life, in sports or in business, are those people who 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. But they know if they refuse to acknowledge defeat, they cannot be defeated.

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.

Tough times will come. You may get knocked down at work or in life. But with the right attitude, using the four skills I just discussed, you can get back up. You can get back on track toward success. And you can reach optimal peak performance.

As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman has taught more than one million people in 48 states and 22 countries how to keep a positive attitude on and off the job. In his book, "PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success," Dr. Zimmerman outlines the exact steps you must take to get the results you want in any situation. Go to Alan's site for more information.

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