“Man’s rise or fall, success or failure, happiness or unhappiness depends on his attitude…a man’s attitude will create the situation he imagines.”
– James Lane Allen
Attitude is one of the biggest influencers in every part of life. Ultimately, your attitude determines your standard of living because it affects how you respond to challenges, your ability to grow and evolve, relationships, health, happiness, and the list goes on and on. It’s been proven many times throughout history that your attitude will get you further than talent, education, and intelligence.
I believe the most successful people are those who have mastered the art of maintaining a positive attitude. It is one of the most important steps for reaching your goals and achieving the level of success you desire. So, here are my 10 tips for developing and sustaining a positive attitude regardless of what’s going on around you:
1. Take responsibility for your attitude – I think it’s important to understand that our mind is like a computer and like any other computer, it can be programmed based on the software (information) that it’s given. More importantly, we are the programmers. We have the power to determine whether we have a good attitude or a bad attitude. It’s so easy to blame our circumstances, but the truth is we can’t control our situation, however, we can control how we respond to the things around us.
2. Look for the good in every situation – Something good can be found in every situation if you take the time to look for it. I don’t know why, but a lot of people find it easier to see the bad than to see the good. I know this was true for me until I learned to look for the positive no matter how bad my circumstances looked at first glance. If nothing else, it’s a learning experience and that in itself is a good thing.
3. Develop a morning routine – Many people’s first thoughts when they wake up is dread for whatever the day holds. They dread going to work, sitting in traffic, dealing with their co-workers, etc. The things we dwell on the most determine our attitude so it’s important to set the tone for the day. As soon as I wake up, I start thinking about all the things I’m grateful for and how wonderful the day is going to be. I believe we get what we expect to get; so, make a point to start your day expecting great things.
4. Practice canceling negative thoughts – To develop a positive attitude, you must make a habit of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. If you don’t train your mind, you will find yourself thinking about negative things without even realizing it. So, strive to be keenly aware of what you’re thinking and don’t even allow yourself to finish a negative thought; instead stop and replace it with something positive. I still haven’t perfected this, but like my mother has always told me, “practice makes perfect”.
5. Stop complaining – Complaining about all the things that you don’t like or believe to be wrong is counterproductive to developing a positive attitude. When you speak negatively about a person or situation without offering a solution, you only become part of the problem. Instead of complaining, either look for solutions or just accept the status quo and move on.
6. Change your internal dialogue – Talking to yourself is very common and can be beneficial if you’re using positive words to pump yourself up, get through a tough situation or relieve anxiety. Far too often though, we’re too hard on ourselves and our self-talk is demeaning and only serves to fuel a bad attitude. Starting today, speak kind and encouraging words to yourself just as you would your best friend.
7. Surround yourself with positive people – We take on the attitude of the people we spend the most time with because attitudes, whether positive or negative, are contagious. So, seek out positive people to spend your time with and see if their attitude doesn’t begin to rub off on you. If for some reason you don’t know any positive people, start participating in local activities to expand your friendship base or use the Internet to join virtual groups.
8. Be grateful – Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what’s wrong in your life, learn to focus on the things you are grateful for. You may even want to invest in a gratitude journal. The more you change your focus, the more improvements you’ll see in your mood, relationships, and maybe even your health. Plus, it’s impossible to have an attitude of gratitude and a bad attitude at the same time.
9. Smile more and laugh often – Have you ever known someone who smiles all the time? Or a person who’s quick to laugh at life’s situations? These people are using the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal for keeping a positive attitude. The next time something goes wrong or you’re feeling down, smile as you think of a good memory. Or find something funny about the situation and see if it doesn’t instantly improve your mood.
10. Enjoy the simple pleasures – We all love it when there are significant events in our lives, like getting a promotion, taking a dream vacation, buying a new house, or achieving some other goal. However, life is made up many more simple pleasures and learning to enjoy them can significantly improve your mood. I live near the beach so watching the waves always give me an attitude boost, but it can be anything from a hug from your child, a smile from a stranger, the wag of a dog’s tail, star gazing, etc. It’s just like Sam Cooke used to sing, “the best things in life are free”.
I read that Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” How has a positive attitude helped you to achieve success and create the life of your dreams?
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