Imagine two people beginning the same job or starting the same kind of company, identical in every way, with the only difference that one person has a positive outlook and the other has a negative attitude. Who would you bet on to succeed?
Attitude is a bigger determinant of success than talent, intelligence and wealth. As the saying goes, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re right.” The good news is that you can choose your attitude.
“Positive” doesn’t mean unrealistic, nor does acknowledging real obstacles make one “negative.” I’m talking about an overall worldview, one that sees possibilities for success, and the other that dwells on reasons for failure.
Most people who think in negative terms aren’t aware that they naturally focus on why something can’t work. That’s because these people usually learned their negativity from an early age, and never questioned a perspective that is overly focused on what’s wrong instead of looking for what is going well.
Negative thinking usually also includes negative self-talk. Whether you’ve incorporated the memory of a negative parent, teacher, boss or significant other, pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Do you often put yourself down, berate yourself for mistakes, and tell yourself that bad things are likely to happen? Change your mental “channel” and catch yourself when you go negative. Intentionally encourage yourself, learn from mistakes and then forgive yourself and move on, and focus on positive outcomes.
What you choose to feed your mind on also plays a big role in whether your views are optimistic or pessimistic. Pay attention to the books you read, the TV shows you watch, and the people whose company you keep. Do they focus on fear, outrage and negativity, or do they express curiosity and optimism about what is possible? Begin to shift your perspective by intentionally choosing to consume books and TV shows that focus on positive themes, and replace your negative friends with people who embrace more optimistic thinking.
When you have a positive attitude you don’t see challenges as obstacles, your energy is directed at finding solutions and looking for opportunities. You propel yourself forward rather then staying stationary or holding yourself back. Your positive attitude opens your mind to possibilities; you get input from other people and sources and remember similar situations that you have handled well. Your attitude is I can do this and I can do this well.
It takes effort and awareness to change from being a negative thinker to a positive thinker, but the result is well worth it in reduced stress, a greater feeling of well being, a more pleasant personality that attracts others, and the ability to see possibilities you never glimpsed before!