It is amazing how easily a positive attitude can be shut down by a few bad experiences and negative thoughts. How often do you use negative language pointed at yourself that expresses self-doubt, frustration with yourself, fear of failure, anxiety, anger at yourself, and victimization? How often do you resort to bad attitude language expressing regret and hurts from the past? ?If only I had??.? or stressful ?what now?.? language about the present? or worrying ?what if?..? language about the future?? Your attitude is everything because everything in life involves it; attitude is the cornerstone upon which your life is built.
One of the best things to remember is that we have the freedom to choose positive or negative attitudes; the paths our lives will take are determined by the choices we make every day. When we consistently choose to think more positively, it can dramatically change our lives. One of the critical differences between people with strong self-confidence and those who lack it is their understanding of the power of attitude. Successful people realize they can control their attitudes rather than letting their attitudes control them. When you cannot face life?s challenges and difficulties with a ?can do? positive attitude, your pessimism will control the life you live.
The most influential voice you will ever hear regarding your attitude is your own. That is because your attitude is an outward reflection of what is inside you. So in order to change your attitude you must change your heart. All of us have had our attitudes programmed throughout our lives with what we hear, say, and see. But the good news is we can reprogram our attitude. We can all learn to think more positively.
Keith Harrell in his book Attitude is Everything suggests the following strategies for how to think more positively and achieve your fullest potential:
1)??? Knowing and understanding what drives your attitude and emotions is the first step to self-control. To improve your actions you must be able to develop an awareness of your feelings that drive negative moods. Make a list of the negative attitudes that have held you back. What type of feelings accompanied these pessimistic views? What was hurting you? What angers you? What makes you jealous? What shames you? What fears do you protect? What stresses you? How do you react to change? What do you resent? What are you grieving? Examine what emotions are driving your negative attitudes. Once you can successfully develop a self- awareness of what emotions and moods are driving your negative attitude you are better prepared to turn your attitude to a more positive mindset.
2)??? It is possible to change your attitude by changing your perspective. For example, focus on the other person?s feelings and view point rather than your own, replace any emotion with gratitude for your blessings, or search for the opportunity that is always available in any situation. Focus on changing your mindset; when you stop blaming, criticizing, feeling hurt, and angry, you will be free to forgive, love, be grateful, and accepting.
3)??? When you become aware of your negative mood, focus on the following three points: A) Remember the feelings that are creating this negative mood will not last forever. Start savoring what is good in your life and let go of the negative mood. B) Whatever is bothering you is not going to destroy your life. C) Don?t personalize it ? life is random, it?s not about you so get over it.
4)??? Live your passions and work toward goals that fulfill your life purpose. Negative people get stuck in their fears and drift with few defined life goals. Positive people are working toward well- defined life goals for which they are passionate. Just think about the happiest, most positive people you know and they will be actively pursuing their dreams. Write down your dreams. Ask yourself, what do you enjoy doing over and over again? Remember, it is the journey of working toward your goals that provide the joy and positivity.
5)??? You must be prepared to deal with things you cannot control. Often it?s the negative comments from others or the negative things we say to ourselves that create negative emotions within us. Victory lies in believing you can get through the hazards of life that bring about your negativity. You must be determined to get a positive learning experience out of even the most negative situations. You must accept responsibility for your low moods and negativity, stop making excuses, and start taking action to improve the situation.
6)??? Unplanned changes in your life, those changes you were not expecting, can throw you off balance and create negative moods. Those who resist the change in their lives will be disabled in their ability to be positive and enjoy life. The important thing to remember is you can control the attitude you take toward any change in your life. As with everything else, you define yourself through your attitude. Are you going to become bitter, fearful, withdrawn, or are you going to embark on an exciting life journey filled with new opportunities?
More action steps
- Every morning express gratitude for another day to savor
- Develop a plan for the day
- Visualize completing well defined goals for the day
Note: if you do not have direction in your life, it will direct you.
- Be on the alert for negative self-talk. Monitor your inner dialogue and refute any negativity.
- Accept the changes in your life; reframe it with the opportunities that will present themselves if you search for them. Remember, letting go empowers you.
- Maintain physical, mental, and spiritual balance. Get enough rest, eat healthy, exercise, spend time with friends.
- Spend time with people who love you; seek their support. Lean on them when things get difficult.
To paraphrase Keith Harrell, your attitude is your most priceless possession on the journey to reach your fullest potential and plant the seeds of hope, love, encouragement, and faith in the lives of others. Believe it ? you have the power to think more positively, control your attitude, and become exactly who you want to become.
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