“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” - Herm Albright
Positive thinking, in its most simplistic form, depends on your attitude. It makes you a winner or a loser. It’s up to you. Whatever you think you can or cannot do, you’re right! And your thoughts and attitude totally control your path, your destiny, and your future.
Charles Swindoll said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.
“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Attitude is a choice. Remember Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Your very attitude will determine whether or not you will be. It’s all in your mind.
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild. But whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein and will continue to produce their kind,” according to James Allen, from As A Man Thinketh.
“You can accomplish anything, if you just put your mind to it,” said George McFly from “Back to the Future.”
It is essential that you develop strength of character. When you do, people around you will admire your fortitude. You must accept life as it comes and avoid a constant pity-party.
Be strong and cope well, and the world will stand with you. But whine and you stand alone! So no more excuses, no more whining. Stop telling yourself what you can’t do; and do what you know you must do. Then do it to the best of your ability.
Positive thinking means also putting effort in order to fulfill your true potential. Life is about you and how you feel about yourself, not about whether you’re born to riches or poverty.
It’s not about a list of relationships you’ve been in and it’s not about what you look like. It’s not about how much stuff you’ve accumulated or your status in the world’s eyes.
It’s about your self-image. So, what’s important to you? You must choose it or it will be chosen for you. You snooze, you lose! Many are capable of greatness, but they fail not because they didn’t have what it takes, but because they held back on their ability.
Maybe they’re afraid to just let go and give it everything they’ve got. Too many use the half-minded approach - they never really give it their all. Don’t approach anything with half your mind engaged. William James told us, “There’s no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”
You must learn to trust yourself and give life everything you have. You might be asking, “What if I make mistakes?” Well, what if you do? You’re human, aren’t you? You are going to make mistakes, lots of them. Who cares? What’s important is whether or not you learn from those mistakes. When you do, pat yourself on the back and remind yourself that there is no such thing as impossible. Impossible is doable, it just takes a little longer.
So, we’ve learned that a more positive attitude can literally change your life and make you happier and successful, but only if you choose to do so. Attitude is everything.
And with that in mind, let’s talk about how you can start changing your attitude. For some, it might be as simple as flipping a switch. But for many, it takes practice, and lots of it. Each detail must be explored and added to your day. Do you wake up in the morning, jump out of bed, and say, “Good morning, Lord!” or do you drag yourself from the bed, muttering, “Good Lord, it’s morning!”
Facing the day is a good place to start. For many, that’s where it all starts to come apart. We dread getting up in the morning and having to face our day. Many people especially dread Mondays. They resist giving up that weekend and going back to work (many call it drudgery).
In order to turn that around, you need to find something good about getting up and starting your day. If you’re married, or otherwise involved with someone, try spending some time with that significant other. Have breakfast together, talk a few minutes, and smile at each other. I guarantee it will make a huge difference in the way your day starts. If children are a part of your life, spend some time with them too. Children have a way of looking at the world that can change your attitude forever, if you let it.
Spend a few extra minutes on your appearance. It’s true that “clothes make the man, or woman.” What they don’t tell you is that clothes make you feel different about yourself. Taking care of your appearance makes you feel more confident. If you know you look good, you’ll feel good too. It’s a real spirit lifter! There’s an old Hasidic saying that goes, “The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others.”
Watch your words and thoughts. Instead of saying to yourself, “Oh great, another Monday morning to get through!” try seeing the more positive side to things. Monday morning could mean another new start, a new week to make a difference and be more productive.
Quit telling yourself what you’re doing wrong and start building yourself up with more positive thoughts about what you’re doing right. Your significant other loves you, your children love you, and your friends think you’re great. Find some fun things that you and your friends/ family can do together this week.
The more often you say negative things to yourself, the stronger those thoughts become, and the more you’ll believe them. If you’ve ever experienced a loved one who beat you down with negativity, you understand that it can become a part of your own self-talk over time.
Whatever happened in your past, in your childhood or early adulthood, it’s time to start talking nicer to yourself. You deserve it; be kind to yourself. Don’t pick up that loved one’s negativity and carry it any further. “If you think a certain thought long enough and hard enough, it becomes a fixed belief and you will find yourself behaving on the outside in a manner consistent with it,” said Brian Tracy
If you find it difficult to be nice to yourself and you often forget to say positive things, write optimistic messages down on small cards and carry them in your pocket or purse. Then, when you feel discouraged and need a pick-me-up, pull out a card and read what it says. Remind yourself of accomplishments and how well you’re doing. Say a nice thing to yourself; and pretty soon, that’s what your subconscious mind will believe.
Before you start whining about how you can’t think of any good things to say to yourself, stop and remind yourself that your attitude change is not caused by some mysterious outside force. Change is caused by you and your own thoughts. You’re the only one who has control over what you think and say. Don’t blame your attitude on anyone else. You can choose to think and act differently.
Don’t let another’s attitude affect your own. Too many are led by another’s negativity. “Everyone was sure in a bad mood today,” you tell your friend. “I guess it just rubbed off on me too.” You can choose to be in a bad mood; or you can tell yourself that just because others are not happy today, doesn’t mean you have to be too. Maybe if you choose to be in a good mood, a happy mood, you can influence others as well. Choose to be a good influence.
You can make that positive attitude a habit each day too. It can make a difference in others’ attitudes too and influence them to choose positive thinking. Any way you look at it, you can’t lose when you choose the positive side to thinking.
Keep in mind though that you can’t control what other people say, do, or think. You can influence their attitude, but you cannot dictate it. They will be the ones to think what they want to think, and so do you. You can only be a good example to others of what positive attitude is capable of bringing about. Rest assured, as an example to others, that you will annoy some, but you will definitely influence many others.
What do you do if someone says unkind or hurtful things to you? This may be surprising, especially if you have adopted an attitude of positive thinking. If you’ve found the positive side of the situation and have shown kindness, this could very well mean that it’s not really about you at all. Remember, you’re not responsible for their attitude, although you might be able to influence it. They have to find their own path towards a positive way of thinking. They may be facing obstacles that are unknown to you and others, but which they have to deal with on their own. Be persistent in your positive attitude for yourself and others.
All people are entitled to their own opinion, which may differ from yours. It doesn’t mean it should upset you; it’s simply their opinion. There are as many opinions in the world as there are human beings. Not everyone is going to agree with you on any particular issue. But your truth is your truth, no matter what anyone else says. It works the other way around as well - your truth is not necessarily theirs.
You must follow your own inner guidance. Shakti Gawain said, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”
Marcus Aurelius said, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” No one can hurt your feelings or make you feel less valuable as a person, unless you allow it. It’s your life; make it what you need it to be.
To keep that positive attitude flowing, spend time with friends and family who are of like mind. Be with non-judgmental people who accept you just the way you are. You don’t need a lot of friends, just a few really true friends. They are the ones who will love you no matter what, and can be depended upon through trials and jubilations.
As soon as you allow yourself to develop that positive attitude, your life will begin to change for the better. Positive thoughts allow for personal growth and success in all aspects of your life. As you practice being positive, you will anticipate happiness and favorable outcomes more and more. You won’t automatically wonder what bad thing is going to happen next in your life.
At this stage, the most important thing to remember is to be persistent. This is not something you can do every now and then. This is a lifestyle change. Instead of telling yourself what you can’t do, begin to tell yourself what you can indeed accomplish. Say it everyday; practice the positive attitude in every scenario, in every situation. Remember the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall — “practice, practice, practice!”
The best part is that as human beings, we think all the time. It’s just a matter of training your brain to think the correct way, to think in a positive manner. Want to change the way you feel about things? Then change your thoughts. Change your thoughts and you change your emotions. Which means you can be happy if you truly want to be, you just have to think it first.
Now, this is not Peter Pan’s thinking happy thoughts; this is more important than that. This is the secret to change the way you feel about everything in your life. Your thoughts and emotions are tied together. They influence how you will live your life every single day. So why not make the most of it?
So what is your priority in life? Do you want to be happy and successful, to love and be loved? Do you want to grow and develop as a person? Then you must be persistent in your positive attitude, no matter what happens. Practice, practice, practice.
Keep in mind too, that since we’re only human beings, we will have some downtimes - times when we don’t feel very positive. This is normal, so don’t feel downhearted when it happens. It doesn’t mean it’s all been for nothing and that you have to start from square one. Give yourself the leeway to have a bad day, once in a while. It’s not the end of the world.
Tomorrow will be a better day and you can start again. Just pick up where you left off. This self-improvement thing is a day-to-day project; all good things take time. You can’t just wake up one day and be completely changed. Remember that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters.
Each day, there are choices to make. Bad days will happen; it’s a given. So, get up the next day and make the choice that it’s going to be a good day. Make it happen.
Be dedicated to a life of positive thinking and decision-making, then take action on those decisions. Beware of homeostasis or just plain laziness.
Eric Hoffer said, “The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves; we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.”