Staying Positive

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As we move through 2012 under a gathering cloud of political and economic gloom, I urge you to maintain a positive attitude. It seems to me that our politicians, economists and business leaders, through their negative outlook, make hard times a self fulfilling prophesy. It is up to all of us to engage in positive self talk and to project a positive attitude.

Turning adversity into opportunity is one of five key steps to developing and maintaining a positive attitude. Positive people see setbacks, problems and conflicts as challenges or opportunities. Once you understand and accept that adversity is an inevitable part of life, you experience less frustration when it occurs.

Charles Kettering noted that "no one would ever have crossed the ocean in a sailing ship if they could have gotten off during a storm." Don't let others sabotage your positive attitude - persist! Thomas Edison tried 1200 materials for the filament of the light bulb before he found one that worked. A Kansas newspaper editor looked at some of the drawings of an aspiring artist and told him he couldn't draw cartoons. Luckily Walt Disney didn't believe him. Anticipate adversity and treat it as a challenge.

Generating positive energy is the second way to support a positive attitude. There are four energy bases you need to keep restoring:

  1. Intellectual - through exercising the brain e.g. doing crosswords
  2. Physical - through exercise, good diet and sleep
  3. Emotional - by having others who can provide you with emotional support
  4. Spiritual - by engaging in activities you find uplifting

The primary source for all energy bases is beauty. When you miss the beauty of daily living your attitude reflects it. When you walk down the road and see a puddle, do you see the mud, or the sky reflected there? Stop and smell the roses.

Having commitment to what you believe is the third source of a positive attitude. It is disengaging to face life without believing in something - something you live for and would possibly die for. Commitment to family, to your community, to developing others, or to human rights are just a few examples of commitments that lead to a positive attitude. Belief in something brings out your inner passion. The belief supported by the passion gives reason for being and doing. Without it there is no point, no rationale for life. Seek out what you are truly committed to.

Driving life through goal attainment is the fourth key to a positive attitude. Goals give your life movement and direction. They give you a sense of control over your own destiny. They provide you with discipline. They can cover your personal, family, business and financial situation.
Goals bring accountability into play. It is difficult to hold yourself accountable unless what is expected is clearly stated. Because success can be measured, goals promote a sense of achievement. With goals you can create your own future.

The fifth key to a positive attitude is to genuinely help others, at work or in other aspects of your life. Caring for others is therapeutic. It reminds us that the world is bigger than our own concerns and worries. Helping others has been found to be one of the best stress relievers. Find someone who needs your help and help them.

Lets all make success and fulfillment a self fulfilling prophesy this year through displaying a positive attitude in everything we do.

A positive attitude leads to a positive professional image essential for leadership. Learn more about developing a positive attitude from Peter Miller, Managing Director, Development in Practice Pty Ltd.

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