Staying positive in the face of difficult challenges is challenging in itself. How do you manage to power through when nothing but negativity seems to be weighing you down?
President Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Keeping a positive attitude can be challenging in certain situations. Here are some lessons I have learned that help me.
1. Protect myself from negative attitudes that I encounter. If I am not careful, I find myself adjusting my attitude to those around me. Attitude is contagious after all. But when the surrounding attitude is negative, I must be strong enough to keep my positive attitude. I have two choices, allow my attitude to influence others, or leave the situation.
2. Focus on tomorrow’s possibilities rather than yesterday’s results. When I find my attitude slipping away from the positive, it is usually because I am too focused on what has happened rather than the opportunities of tomorrow. Walt Whitman said it best, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
3. Learn more about myself. Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” When I find myself getting irritated, it affects my attitude. The aggravation however is within me, not with the other person. If I spend time understanding myself, then I am better prepared to turn negative situations into positive situations.
Another thing to consider when faced with differing attitudes is to recognize: My attitude is mine. The attitudes of others are owned by them. I am not better, just because my attitude may be more positive at the moment. As Ziad K. Abdelnour said, “Don’t judge someone’s attitude until you’ve felt their pain.” Jack Klemeyer also provided the elements of a good attitude that you will want in employees if you want your business to grow:
- DESIRE TO LEARN. People with a good attitude watch successful people and study them. They continually seek new skills and strategies. Inherent to learning is changing behaviors. These people don’t just archive information, they apply it.
- POSITIVE APPROACH TO PROBLEMS. When something goes wrong, they don’t play the blame game. Instead, they treat it as a challenge to dissect, improve, and resolve the issue so it does not happen again.
- TAKE ACTION. It’s not all talk. They take steps to develop and then implement. They are movers and make things happen.
- MENTAL TOUGHNESS. When things go awry (and they will) people with a good attitude have the ability to not take it as a personal affront or attack. If needed, they will take responsibility and be accountable, but then push beyond themselves to turn it around. Failures are challenges and speedbumps for these people.
- OPEN MINDEDNESS. There are several ways to approach every problem, task and situation. When someone can look at things from various perspectives, understanding and outcomes improve. Flexibility is critical to a developing company.
- TEAM PLAYER. They can communicate and collaborate with others to create innovative solutions that work; or be part of a brain trust to develop new products and services that are ahead of the market. The success of the team matters most to great team members.
A good attitude will affect nearly every aspect of your life, be it at home or at work. If you use these lessons, you may be able to avoid the inevitable bits of negativity that will come your way. Having a positive outlook will only help keep you on your path to success!