“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett
I know we have often talked about how important a positive attitude is to leading a happy and productive life. I often wonder if the reason chronic complainers fail is because of their constant blaming everything on bad luck, bad people and the like.
It is only recently that I have learned that attitude also often determines how we see the world and not just how we behave. I find that those with a negative attitude often cannot see all the good things around them. It is almost as if they can only see those things that reinforce their negative outlook.
The good news is that people can change if they want to. If things are mostly looking bad it is time to invest in building a new attitude. Here is what Dr. Ken Odiwé has offered for those who want to find more joy in life. I have had to do some editing but I kept his thoughts.
How to Get an A+ Attitude
This may not be the first time you have read or heard these words: “Your attitude determines your altitude.” Here are a few strategies for improving your attitude to score a grade of A+:
Picture a new you – Picture yourself in various situations where you haven’t been too pleased with your attitude or outward behavior. Say, for instance, you want to become more enthusiastic. Try imagining yourself in settings that would require that behavior-such as giving an oral report in a business luncheon or interviewing for a part-time or summer job-and envision yourself as positive and enthusiastic. What would you be saying? How would you be acting as the “new you”?
Feed yourself supportive self-talk – That’s right. Talk to yourself! Psychologists call this cognitive therapy. Identify your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Here are seven categories of self-put-downs to look out for:
- Exaggerated or catastrophic thoughts-”I didn’t have time to answer my angel investors question, so I probably would not get funding.”
- Absolutist thinking-I never dress right for business.”
- Jumping to the wrong conclusion-”The committee didn’t give me a tour of their plant, so I guess they already have decided not to do business with my company.”
- Incorrect assumptions-”I felt so nervous, I’ll bet everyone knew.”
- Discounting the positive-”I got a B on the strategic planning test, but it was marked on a curve.”
- Taking responsibility for something you didn’t cause-”It’s all my fault-I should have known you were leaving early and given you the letter.”
- Assigning negative labels to yourself-”I’m a born loser.”
If you find yourself using any of these self put-downs-stop. Think of all the positives about yourself!
Set up an action plan to strengthen any weaknesses in attitude – Read self-help books (for instance, on motivation).
Pretend you’re more positive than you are – Weak in confidence? Fake it. Smile, agree to do new things, talk about your accomplishments instead of your failures. Take a deep breath, and suggest a few interesting ideas. After a while, this new habit will retrain your brain to think more positively.
Find a role model – One of the best ways to shape a positive attitude is to emulate someone whose attitude and behavior you admire. This person can be famous or not famous, living or dead, smart or just average-as long as the person demonstrates a positive attitude. Look around you. A friend, a parent, a grandparent-any one of them could be a role model, not because they are famous or wealthy, but because they face each day with a positive attitude.
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
Mother: “Why are you home from school so early?”
Son: “I was the only one who could answer a question.”
Mother: “Oh, really? What was the question?
Son: “Who threw the eraser at the principal?”
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
I have five siblings, three sisters and two brothers. One night I was chatting with my Mom about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years:
“When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance.”
“When your youngest brother swallowed a dime, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”
If all is not lost, where is it?
A man joined a big Multi-National Company as a trainee. On his first day, he dialed the pantry and shouted into the phone, “Get me a coffee, quickly!”
The voice from the other side responded, “You fool, you’ve dialed the wrong extension! Do you know who you’re talking to, dumbo?”
“No,” replied the trainee.
“It’s the Managing Director of the company, you fool!”
The trainee shouted back, “And do you know who YOU are talking to, you fool?”
“No.” replied the Managing Director indignantly.
“Good!” replied the trainee and put down the phone.
Why do you need an appointment to see a psychic?
When I was working as a clerk at a sporting-goods store, a woman came up to my register with a package of white athletic socks. “Will you open this up so I can see how the socks feel?” she asked.
Reluctantly I tore open the package, and she scrutinized the merchandise. She handed me the package, saying, “I’ll take them.”
Relieved, I started to ring her up, until she interrupted me. “Can I have another pack? This one’s been opened.”
An act of goodness surpasses a thousand prayers.
In a recent survey, 60 percent of respondents said the cities where they live is noisier now than they were five years ago.
The other 40 percent didn’t hear the question.
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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